Is there anything more spring-like and alluring than a vibrant Mozart piano concerto?
Master pianist Richard Goode is set to bring the famed Piano Concerto No. 20 to Oslo. Prokofiev, too, takes a classical direction in his elegant Symphony No. 1, but don’t be fooled! Here, the composer plays with conventions behind the facade. In addition, conductor Alain Altinoglu presents Ravel’s sonorous and childishly charming ballet about Mother Goose. And while we cannot quite describe Mother Goose as a champion of women’s rights, we will mark Women’s Day and the coming of spring with a little stroke of genius by Lili Boulanger: the tone poem About a Spring Morning.
Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) received awards for her compositions before dying of ill health at the age of only twenty-five. She was the first woman to win the prestigious “Prix de Rome” and was a respected voice in a male-dominated environment. The tone poem D’un Matin du Printemps (1918) was one of her final completed works and demonstrates her ability to conjure up the French sound world at its most colourful, elegant and subtle. These same qualities can found in many of Maurice Ravel’s (1875-1937) compositions. The starting point for the ballet Ma Mère l’Oye (1911) is of a simple nature — five short piano pieces written for children — yet the stories’ magical melodies transform into to a colourful kaleidoscope of sound, particularly in the orchestra- and ballet version.
The ability to create spellbinding melodies was also one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s (1756-1791) most outstanding qualities as a composer, and some of his best known can be found in his Piano Concerto No. 20 (1785). Despite opening with uncharacteristically dark undertones, a bubbling, playful and bewitching Mozart can be found hiding just around the corner. Playing a little with classicism must be allowed, like Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) did in his symphony No. 1 (1917). For the untrained ear, the music floats and dances along, just like that of Haydn or Mozart, but Prokofiev turns and twists the classical conventions around so the music gets a twinkle in its eye, becoming wholly and fully the composer’s own.
(Text: Thomas Erma Møller; Translation (from Norwegian): Sarah Osa; In photo: Alain Altinoglu; Photo: Fred Toulet)
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