Sibelius, Gringolts and the Violin Concerto
A Unique Performance on Period Instruments
Ilya Gringolts, violin
Finnish Baroque Orchestra
Tomas Djupsjöbacka, conductor
The Finnish Baroque Orchestra (FiBO) and the conductor Tomas Djupsjöbacka continue their period sound exploration of the music of Jean Sibelius (1865–1957). This time, the programme consist of his beloved violin concerto as well as the fourth symphony, one of Sibelius’ most visionary works. In the orchestra of Sibelius’ time, the string instruments used gut strings and the woodwinds had different mechanisms than today. The Vienna horns and the German trombones also have an impact on the sound. Since Sibelius’ own time, neither of these works have been performed on instruments like the ones that were used then.
Around the time of the conception of the violin concerto (1904/1905), Sibelius had the opportunity to move to the peace and quiet of Ainola. The first version of the concerto was however still composed in the bustling city, during a time when the composer’s lifestyle included long nights out. In this environment, Sibelius called his concerto a wonderful but diabolical task. The famous German violinist Willy Burmester wanted to premiere the work, but due to financial reasons Sibelius gave the work to another violinist. The final version was premiered by Karel Halíř, a concertmaster from Berlin, under the baton of Richard Strauss. The concerto merges the virtuoso tradition of the Romantic era with a new kind of conception of form as well as an original national colour.
This time, the soloist of the violin concerto is Ilya Gringolts, one of the absolute top violinists of today and a long time collaborator of FiBO. The album Il labirinto armonico (BIS) with violin concertos by Pietro Antonio Locatelli was received with praise and was awarded many international prizes, such as Gramophone Editor’s Choice (3/2021) and Diapason d’Or (5/2021).
Sibelius’ fourth symphony (1911) was his take on the modernism of his time. The symphony is a strangely charming statement that references different styles at the same time as it deviates from them. Aino Sibelius said that after the Helsinki premiere, she saw only “evasive looks, shaking heads, sheepish or secretly ironical smiles”. The extraordinary energy of the music didn’t pass unnoticed by anyone. The composer himself characterised the work as his credo and a manly fight for life. The transparent and sensitive sound of FiBO’s period instruments is well suited to show off the harsh masterwork in a new light.
Duration: 1 h 30 min (incl. intermission)
Tickets 38 € (normal), 17,50 € (children and students) + 1,5 € service charge per order: Verkatehdas, Ticketmaster's points of purchase and ticketmaster.fi
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