London Symphony Orchestra Performs Music by Karol Szymanowski

16 Aug at 8:00 pm
17 Aug at 8:00 pm
19 Aug at 7:30 pm
Usher Hall / Lothian Road (EH1 2EA)
Tickets: £12 – £42
Box office: 0131 473 2000

Valery Gergiev

Valery Gergiev brings the London Symphony Orchestra for a fascinating four-concert residency contrasting the glowing nobility of Brahms with the exotic, perfumed passions of Szymanowski.

The LSO concerts of Karol Szymanowski's music are preceeded by a study event entitled Szymanowski’s Homeland – Europe’s Forgotten Orient.



London Symphony Orchestra Concert I

16 Aug at 8:00 pm
Szymanowski / Symphony No 1 and Violin Concerto No 1
Brahms / Symphony No 1
Duration: 2 hours

Powerhouse conductor Valery Gergiev, the Edinburgh International Festival’s Honorary President, brings the London Symphony Orchestra to the festival for what promises to be a fascinating four-concert residency contrasting the glowing nobility of Brahms with the exotic, perfumed passions of Szymanowski.

Nicola Benedetti, photo: Decca - Simon Fowler

It was her performance of Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No 1 that won Ayrshire-born violinist Nicola Benedetti the BBC Young Musician title in 2004 at the age of 16, and the Polish composer’s sensuous, mystical music has been in her blood ever since.

London Symphony Orchestra Concert II

17 Aug at 8:00 pm
Brahms / Tragic Overture
Szymanowski / Symphony No 2
Brahms / Symphony No 2
Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes

Brahms’s Second is the sunniest of the composer’s four symphonies, its cheerful, pastoral mood drawing comparisons with Beethoven’s well-loved ‘Pastoral’ Symphony. The piece’s tender melodies and genial intimacy are only clouded by the briefest of storms in the brooding slow movement, revealing the steely strength behind the naive charm that Brahms evokes in the work.
Szymanowski’s dramatic Second Symphony, on the other hand, is a grand statement that shows the impact of Mahler and Richard Strauss, while also drawing on the lush impressionism of Debussy. Sensuous and passionate, and scored for a huge orchestra, it has gorgeous melodies, brilliant colours and a magnificent conclusion.

London Symphony Orchestra Concert III

18 Aug at 7:30 pm
Brahms / Symphony No 3
Brahms / Variations on a theme by Haydn
Szymanowski / Symphony No 3 "Song of the Night"
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Szymanowski’s Third Symphony is one of the composer’s most admired and most sumptuous works, an intoxicating creation for tenor soloist, choir and orchestra that describes the soul’s communication with God during a starlit Persian night. Evoking the subtle colours of Debussy, Ravel and Scriabin, its shimmering orchestral textures convey the mysteries of the supernatural in iridescent, ecstatic music.

London Symphony Orchestra Concert IV

19 Aug at 7:30 pm
Szymanowski / Symphony No 4 and Violin Concerto No 2
Brahms / Symphony No 4
Duration:1 hour 55 minutes

Valery Gergiev concludes the LSO’s Festival residency with the final symphonic creations by both Brahms and Szymanowski. Brahms’s Fourth Symphony is the summation of his orchestral music, serious yet transcendent, passionate but intellectually rigorous. It’s hard not to feel moved by the slow unfolding of the final movement’s towering passacaglia, based on church music by Bach.
Szymanowski’s Symphony No 4 is a piano concerto in all but name, its percussive brilliance tempered by magical moments of lyrical reflection.

For more on the Polish composer, see:

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