19 - 21 Oct '20

Tour I
19 - 21 Oct '20

Alexandre Kantorow


Concert dates and locations

  • 19 October 2020 | Tonhalle Maag Zurich | 19:30
  • 20 October 2020 | Victoria Hall Geneva | 20:00
  • 21 October 2020 | Casino Bern | 19:30



Throughout the 2020/2021 season, selected Swiss talents will again have the opportunity to perform before local audiences as a prelude to most of the concerts. A clapometer will measure the public' impression of these performances. The singer or instrumentalist who generated the most enthusiasm will have the chance to perform as a soloist during the following season. These twofold "overtures" serve not only as musical openings to the concert evenings but also as a gateway to the careers of tomorrow's stars.
At the beginning of World War II, Benjamin Britten left England as a convinced pacifist and conscientious objector. It was during this self-imposed exile in the United States that conductor Serge Koussevitzky convinced the English composer to start working on his first opera. In the middle of the war, Britten chose to return to his homeland to devote himself to Peter Grimes. Based on a long narrative poem by George Crabbe, the opera was successfully premiered at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London in 1945. It quickly established Britten's reputation as England's best opera composer since Purcell.

The sea is omnipresent throughout Peter Grimes, an opera set in a fishermen's village on the English coast where the principal character is faced with the hostility of the locals. The score contains six orchestral pieces. Britten had already decided to use four of them for a self-standing orchestra suite before the opera's first performance. The set soon became well established in the symphonic repertoire. The "Four Sea Interludes" are descriptive pieces that mirror in turn the broad horizon of the North Sea (Dawn), the atmosphere of the coastal village (Sunday Morning) or the tempest out at sea (Storm). The third and largest Interlude (Moonlight) is more static and reflects the psychological dimension of Britten's opera.
Both of Liszt's piano concertos are the result of a very long gestation period. The two pieces were begun simultaneously in 1839, at a time when the musician was performing as a virtuoso pianist in concert halls and musical salons throughout Europe. This hectic life might well have restricted Liszt's composing activities, but doesn't explain everything. Although the pianist could effortlessly produce showpieces adapted to his exceptional virtuosity, he struggled to find his own voice in the "big" forms of the symphony or the concerto.
𠊟ranz Liszt wanted his Piano Concerto in A major to be regarded as a "Concerto Symphonique", according to the title written (in French) on the manuscript before the work's publication in 1863. This designation reflects the composer's desire to fully integrate the solo instrument in the orchestral texture. It also conveys his idea to apply to the concerto similar procedures to those he had already explored in the field of symphonic poems. Instead of casting the concerto in three movements according to usual practice, Liszt opted for an uninterrupted composition. The word nevertheless comprises six separate sections that ensure changes in character in the course thematic transformations. Liszt found earlier examples in the works of Beethoven or Schubert (Wanderer-Fantasie) on which to ground this composition process.
1806 was one of the most creative and eventful years in Beethoven's life. It was the year of major works such as the Fourth Piano Concerto, the Violin Concerto, the three "Razumovsky" Quartets and the Leonore III Overture. It is also the year when the musician finally admitted evidence of his deafness and vowed to no longer make it a secret. Beethoven spent part of the summer of 1806 in the palace of Count Franz von Oppersdorff. During his stay, he noticed how much his host, a great music lover, appreciated his Symphony No. 2, still composed under Haydn's influence. Commissioned by Count von Oppersdorf, Beethoven's Fourth Symphony in B flat major was premiered in March 1807 at a private concert in Vienna sponsored by Prince Lobkowitz. The work's "retrograde" allure and its entertaining character have led to a certain amount of criticism. The composer did, in fact, himself acknowledge the "unbuttoned" nature of his work. Hector Berlioz, a great admirer of Beethoven's music, had boundless admiration for the Fourth Symphony. According to the French composer, the Adagio of the Symphony Op. 60 "surpasses anything the imagination could ever dream of in terms of tenderness and pure voluptuousness". The brief Finale has a carefree and swirling lightness, but beware of speeding! Through the accentuations he took care to mark in the score, Beethoven clearly indicated that he wanted to give this movement the necessary weight to balance the whole symphony.

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Good to know

In June 2019, Alexandre Kantorow hit the headlines by becoming the first French pianist to win both the Gold Medal and the Grand Prix at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Born in 1997, Kantorow studied at the Paris Schola Cantorum and Conservatoire National Supérieur. He then went on to continue his training with the Russian pedagogue Rena Shereshevskaya at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris. He gave a remarkable performance at the Folle Journée de Nantes when he was only 16 and has since been hailed by the press as the"young tsar" of French piano. Alexandre Kantorow has performed in major concert venues such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Philharmonie in Paris, the Bozar in Brussels and at the most prestigious festivals (Roque d'Anthéron, Montreux, Piano aux Jacobins). He also entertains a close relationship with the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev. In 2020, he was awarded two Victoires de la Musique Classique, for the best recording (Saint-Saëns Concertos 3,4 & 5) and best instrumental soloist of the year.

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