Joshua Weilerstein conducts music by three composers who all knew each other: Ethel Smyth, Edvard Grieg and Johannes Brahms. All three had drawn musical inspiration from places of natural beauty in writing the works featured on this programme.
Ethel Smyth (1858–1944) rebelled against both her family and the social conventions of the time when she chose to follow her dream of becoming a composer. In 1887 she travelled to Leipzig and met several of her famous contemporaries, among them Edvard Grieg and Johannes Brahms.
On the Cliffs of Cornwall is the overture to to the second act of her opera The Wreckers from 1906. The opera is inspired by stories from Cornwall in the south of England, about how the local people would lure ships in towards the cliffs in order to plunder them. She had the idea for the opera during a stay in Cornwall in 1886.
Edvard Grieg’s (1843–1907) Piano Concerto in A-Minor must be the most successful Norwegian orchestra work of all time, and is regularly played throughout the whole world. The composer produced the work at a summer house in the idyllic village of Søllerød in Denmark in 1868, and in the following year it was premiered in Copenhagen. This concert's soloist is Russian pianist Denis Kozhukhin, who has performed with the Oslo Philharmonic several times in recent seasons.
Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) worked on his first symphony for over 20 years and completed it in 1876. The following summer he composed his Symphony No. 2 in the course of just a few months in the beautiful holiday destination of Pörtsach, and the symphony was performed for the first time before the end of the same year. The music is characterised by the sunny environment he was in and has been compared to Beethoven’s Pastorale Symphony.
(Translation from Norwegian: Sarah Osa)
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