Arvo Pärt Estonian composer wrote Fratres (Brothers) in 1977. The three-part work was originally written without a definite orchestration, that is, there were no precise instructions for the musical instruments and so any could be used to perform it. This approach was common in Mediaeval and Renaissance music, too, historical periods that Pärt had studied in depth before he came up with the so-called tintinnabuli style that later became his hallmark. This composition style originates from the tonal traditions of Western music and is based on the potential of triads. The term tintinnabuli itself recalls the chiming of the bells full of overtones, and this world of sounds and composition technique is what makes Pärt’s music both static and constantly overflowing in a unique way. Later he published this work in several variations for orchestration. Tonight the version written for strings and percussions will be performed, which was composed in 1983. According to the composer, with its variation series alternating between restless movement and meditational peace, partitioned by percussion effects, Fratres illustrates the way “the instant and eternity are struggling within us”.
Pärt’s piece was chosen by tonight’s Estonian conductor Lilyan Kaiv, a participant at the 2019 Dohnányi Academy Masterclass for Conductors. With her outstanding performance she wowed both the orchestra and the Class Leader, Gábor Hollerung. Please give her a warm welcome.
Mozart wrote Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major originally for flute, oboe, horn and bassoon, dedicating it to four virtuoso friends of his, in 1778 in Paris. He had got to know these artists back in Mannheim and planned for his new piece to be performed by them at one of the events of the Paris Concerts Spirituels. The première, however, never took place and the manuscript was somehow also gone missing. Even though a few months later in a letter of his Mozart expressed his intention of putting down the composition again, he never got around to actually do it. We still have no idea who it was to write down the version known today – for oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon. Tonight four excellent musicians of our orchestra will step on stage in the soloist roles.
At the end of the year 1944, Shostakovich was already planning to write his Ninth Symphony, also to complete the cycle begun by the Seventh and Eighth Symphonies. In his early plans there would be a monumental performing body, just like that of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. In the end, putting his first attempts aside, he wrote the Ninth Symphony between 5 and 30 August 1945 – the première of which took place on 3 November of the same year in Leningrad ending in what was perhaps one of the biggest scandals in Soviet musical life. Instead of the monumental choral symphony everyone was expecting, the performed piece could best be called a “sinfonietta” that sounded like a single, great scherzo all in all. So instead of evoking Beethoven’s heroic pathos, it seemed as if the composer had rather opted for the jokingly straight forward simplicity of Haydn as the example to follow: the simple theme, the light orchestration requiring a relatively small apparatus, the quaint repetition of the exposition were all more suggestive of an intention of parodying. Another reason for this work failing to become the climax of the three “War Symphonies” is that the complete duration of its five movements was shorter than even just the opening movements of the Seventh or Eighth Symphonies. The reservations of the Soviet critics, however, have been disproved by time and performing artists alike: as the memory of the war started fading, significantly more conductors chose to put the Ninth Symphony on their programme instead of the heavily pragmatic Seventh and Eighth.