Artists

Orchestra

25 - 27 Jan '19

Tour III
25 - 27 Jan '19

Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra

Tour

Concert dates and locations

  • 25 January 2019 | Victoria Hall Geneva | 20:00
  • 26 January 2019 | Tonhalle Maag Zurich | 19:30
  • 27 January 2019 | KKL Lucerne | 18:30

Artists

Programme Geneva

Would Stravinsky have become the famous composer as we know him had he not written his early work "Fireworks"? It was thanks to this short orchestral fantasy (and the "Scherzo fantastique" that preceded it) that the Russian composer attracted Serge Diaghilev's attention. The sequel is well known: the great impresario commissioned Stravinsky to orchestrate some Chopin music, before letting the young musician compose three choreographic masterpieces for his Ballets Russes: "The Firebird", "Petrushka" and "The Rite of Spring". Stravinsky supposedly composed "Fireworks" in 1908 as a wedding gift for Rimsky-Korsakov's daughter, after having taken some private lessons with the celebrated Russian composer. The orchestral writing of this piece is vibrantly colourful, and the rhythms are driving. "The work captures in its musical essence, in a truly startling way, that peculiar psychic elation aroused by the spectacle of fiery entertainments," wrote a critic and friend of Diaghilev in 1910, after the work's first performance in Paris. The previous year, Alexander Siloti had conducted the premiere of "Fireworks" in Saint Petersburg.
The Symphonic Poem for orchestra, piano and qingyi (Peking Opera soprano) “Farewell My Concubine” is inspired by Chen Kaige’s eponymous film, which won the Palme d'or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1993. The work also recalls the days when Tan Dun worked as a violinist and conductor with a Peking Opera company. The composer was reminded of his passion for traditional Chinese opera on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of Mei Lanfang’s birth. He decided to celebrate the legacy of one of the most popular singers in Peking Opera’s modern history with a symphonic poem featuring piano and qingyi as soloists. The story Mei Lanfang’s encounter with Charlie Chaplin in 1930 inspired Tan Dun to write a dialogue between the piano and the soprano voice which might suggest an exciting conversation between these two great artists about movies and the charm of Peking Opera. The composer also wanted to pay tribute to martial arts, in particular Mei Lanfang's famous sword dance, which is reflected in the piano part. Tan Dun was fascinated by the performer’s combination of introverted strength and extroverted energy, which represents the ideal of Chinese male power. The voice showcases the feminine counterpart and Chinese beauty. "The conversation between the piano and the qingyi is actually a tragic love story between man and woman, sky and earth, and piano and Peking Opera" sums up Tan Dun. The Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra premiered the work on July 31, 2015.

The suona is a double-reed woodwind instrument similar to the Western oboe but which is shorter and narrower than the latter. The flared bell is made of brass or copper. Its penetrating sound is reminiscent of a shawm. Although it originates from Central Asia, the suona is a long-standing traditional Chinese musical instrument, particularly in the eastern provinces of Shandong, Hebei and Henan.

Born in 1926 in the rural Shandong province, Ren Tongxiang is one of the most famous suona performers of the 20th century. He composed in 1953 "100 Birdy Flying Toward Phoenix", which is undoubtedly the traditional repertoire’s most famous piece for suona and Chinese orchestra. Ren Tongxiang associated folk tunes from his homeland with a dazzling solo part that imitates bird calls with a striking resemblance. This approach has little to do with the romantic idealisation of nature such as we know it Western classical music. Ren Tongxiang's style is much more direct and contemporary. It is not surprising that in the Chinese culture, the mythical phoenix symbolises very down to earth values such as wealth and happiness. The version performed in this concert is a new arrangement for suona and symphony orchestra by Guan Xia, a composer born in 1957 who has made a name for himself with film music and operas.

"Mark him well; he is a man on the eve of celebrity" predicted Diaghilev between two rehearsals of "The Firebird" at the Paris Opera. This man was Igor Stravinsky, who the famous impresario has commissioned to compose a ballet based on an old Russian legend. A godsend for this young composer, who was then twenty-seven years old and fascinated by the world of dance. First performed at the Paris Opera on June 25, 1910, "The Firebird" was a spectacular success that immediately earned Stravinsky widespread recognition and admiration from his peers. This dazzling score makes use of chromatic writing to illustrate the legend's supernatural dimension and much simpler turns indebted to folk tunes to portray the world of mortals. Stravinsky later found the orchestration "unnecessarily opulent" and reduced it for the orchestral Suites he drew from the ballet. The Second suite, premiered in 1919 while the composer was living in Morges, comprises five numbers: Introduction – The Firebird and its dance – The Firebird's variation; The Princesses’ Khorovod; Infernal dance of King Kashchei; Berceuse (Lullaby); Finale.

Programme Zurich and Lucerne

 

Our new concert series presents the best winners of the Migros Culture Percentage Student Award and the Encouragement Award. Discover the Soloists of Tomorrow in short 30-minutes recitals that will start one hour before the following concerts: 28.11.2018, 27.1.2019, 22.3.2019 and 13.5.2019 in Lucerne, 25.10.2018, 27.11.2018, 26.1.2019, 20.3.2019, 9.4.2019 and 26.5.2019 in Zurich. Your season ticket or concert ticket entitles to a free admission for each of these concerts.

Our Soloists of Tomorrow
Would Stravinsky have become the famous composer as we know him had he not written his early work "Fireworks"? It was thanks to this short orchestral fantasy (and the "Scherzo fantastique" that preceded it) that the Russian composer attracted Serge Diaghilev's attention. The sequel is well known: the great impresario commissioned Stravinsky to orchestrate some Chopin music, before letting the young musician compose three choreographic masterpieces for his Ballets Russes: "The Firebird", "Petrushka" and "The Rite of Spring". Stravinsky supposedly composed "Fireworks" in 1908 as a wedding gift for Rimsky-Korsakov's daughter, after having taken some private lessons with the celebrated Russian composer. The orchestral writing of this piece is vibrantly colourful, and the rhythms are driving. "The work captures in its musical essence, in a truly startling way, that peculiar psychic elation aroused by the spectacle of fiery entertainments," wrote a critic and friend of Diaghilev in 1910, after the work's first performance in Paris. The previous year, Alexander Siloti had conducted the premiere of "Fireworks" in Saint Petersburg.
The Symphonic Poem for orchestra, piano and qingyi (Peking Opera soprano) “Farewell My Concubine” is inspired by Chen Kaige’s eponymous film, which won the Palme d'or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1993. The work also recalls the days when Tan Dun worked as a violinist and conductor with a Peking Opera company. The composer was reminded of his passion for traditional Chinese opera on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of Mei Lanfang’s birth. He decided to celebrate the legacy of one of the most popular singers in Peking Opera’s modern history with a symphonic poem featuring piano and qingyi as soloists. The story Mei Lanfang’s encounter with Charlie Chaplin in 1930 inspired Tan Dun to write a dialogue between the piano and the soprano voice which might suggest an exciting conversation between these two great artists about movies and the charm of Peking Opera. The composer also wanted to pay tribute to martial arts, in particular Mei Lanfang's famous sword dance, which is reflected in the piano part. Tan Dun was fascinated by the performer’s combination of introverted strength and extroverted energy, which represents the ideal of Chinese male power. The voice showcases the feminine counterpart and Chinese beauty. "The conversation between the piano and the qingyi is actually a tragic love story between man and woman, sky and earth, and piano and Peking Opera" sums up Tan Dun. The Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra premiered the work on July 31, 2015.

The suona is a double-reed woodwind instrument similar to the Western oboe but which is shorter and narrower than the latter. The flared bell is made of brass or copper. Its penetrating sound is reminiscent of a shawm. Although it originates from Central Asia, the suona is a long-standing traditional Chinese musical instrument, particularly in the eastern provinces of Shandong, Hebei and Henan.

Born in 1926 in the rural Shandong province, Ren Tongxiang is one of the most famous suona performers of the 20th century. He composed in 1953 "100 Birdy Flying Toward Phoenix", which is undoubtedly the traditional repertoire’s most famous piece for suona and Chinese orchestra. Ren Tongxiang associated folk tunes from his homeland with a dazzling solo part that imitates bird calls with a striking resemblance. This approach has little to do with the romantic idealisation of nature such as we know it Western classical music. Ren Tongxiang's style is much more direct and contemporary. It is not surprising that in the Chinese culture, the mythical phoenix symbolises very down to earth values such as wealth and happiness. The version performed in this concert is a new arrangement for suona and symphony orchestra by Guan Xia, a composer born in 1957 who has made a name for himself with film music and operas.

"Mark him well; he is a man on the eve of celebrity" predicted Diaghilev between two rehearsals of "The Firebird" at the Paris Opera. This man was Igor Stravinsky, who the famous impresario has commissioned to compose a ballet based on an old Russian legend. A godsend for this young composer, who was then twenty-seven years old and fascinated by the world of dance. First performed at the Paris Opera on June 25, 1910, "The Firebird" was a spectacular success that immediately earned Stravinsky widespread recognition and admiration from his peers. This dazzling score makes use of chromatic writing to illustrate the legend's supernatural dimension and much simpler turns indebted to folk tunes to portray the world of mortals. Stravinsky later found the orchestration "unnecessarily opulent" and reduced it for the orchestral Suites he drew from the ballet. The Second suite, premiered in 1919 while the composer was living in Morges, comprises five numbers: Introduction – The Firebird and its dance – The Firebird's variation; The Princesses’ Khorovod; Infernal dance of King Kashchei; Berceuse (Lullaby); Finale.

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Good to know

The Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra is one of China's most prestigious ensembles and the only Chinese symphony orchestra to have toured and performed on five continents. Founded in 1957 in Guangzhou (Canton), the orchestra underwent four decades later a complete restructuration which enabled the introduction of full music seasons. Since the turn of the millennium, the orchestra has toured extensively, visiting the world's most famous venues (Musikverein in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Carnegie Hall in New York) and performing with leading soloists and conductors such as Mischa Maisky, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Martha Argerich, Charles Dutoit and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Hailed by composer Krzysztof Penderecki for producing "the best sound ever heard among Chinese orchestras", the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra has collaborated with some of the world's major ballet companies. It has also developed a strategy in favour of young musicians, notably by establishing an affiliate youth orchestra. Long Yu holds the position of Music Director of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra since 2003.

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