Stories of the sea
The sea is waving in the background of all three works at this concert: Pyotr Tchaikovsky's The Storm, Henri Dutilleux's Cello Concerto, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakovs Scheherazade. Truls Mørk is the cello soloist, and Klaus Mäkelä is conducting.
The Tempest is one of Williams Shakespeare's most distinctive plays and has inspired a long line of composers. Pyotr Tchaikovsky set about the task in 1873 after a suggestion from his mentor Vladimir Stasov - he also wrote music for Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet later. «Does it have to be a storm in The Tempest?» asked the composer Stasov in a letter – he was more concerned with the love story between Miranda and Ferdinand. The answer he got was yes, but Tchaikovsky's orchestral piece had room for both storm and love and for the quiet and angry ocean.
In the 1960s, Henri Dutilleux (1916-2013) was asked to write music for the 100th anniversary of Charles Baudelaire's death. Nothing came of it, but he was fascinated by the poet's masterpiece Les Fleurs du mal ("Flowers of evil"). The collection of poems became the foundation for the cello concerto Tour un monde lointain... ("A remote world") from 1970. Each of the five movements takes quotations from Les Fleurs du mal as its starting point. The third movement's description of a seascape may bring to mind Claude Debussy's music about the ocean.
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) worked in the Russian Navy for many years and sailed around the earth for three years in the 1860s. His orchestral piece Scheherazade from 1888 starts with a grandiose description of the sea in the movement The Sea and Sinbad's Ship. Sinbad the sailor is the hero of many stories in One Thousand and One Nights. Rimsky-Korsakov's music does not describe specific stories from the collection. However, it revolves around the framework narrative, where the young woman Scheherazade tells stories to the evil king every night in order not to be killed.
What is played
- Pjotr Tsjaikovskij
- Henri Dutilleux
- Nikolaj Rimskij-Korsakov