It was the most important philharmonic project of the 2009/2010 season: Sir Simon Rattle conducted acclaimed performances of all Jean Sibelius’s symphonies. This is now being repeated. The Third and Fourth Symphonies are the focus of this evening; the two stand for a fusion of Nordic melodies and forward-looking conception. As soloist in Sibelius’s Violin Concerto, we will experience the Greek star violinist Leonidas Kavakos.
Symphony No. 3 in C major
Violin Concerto in D minor
Leonidas Kavakos Violin
Symphony No. 4 in A minor
In the 2012/13 season, Leonidas Kavakos was artist in residence of the Berliner Philharmoniker. This time the violinist, born in 1967, will return to the stage of the Philharmonie to play a work with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, a work which has always been dear to him: Jean Sibelius’s Violin Concerto. Kavakos presented his interpretation of Sibelius’s sole contribution to the genre of violin concerto at the age of 24, based on a critical study of the original score; his CD has received numerous awards. Since then, this milestone of the violin repertoire has not let him go, and keeps challenging him to re-examination.
The Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon are congenial musical partners at Kavakos’s side. Five years have passed since the orchestra, conducted by its chief conductor, presented all of Sibelius’s symphonies. The preconception that the Finnish composer’s music is – as was once maligned – a “configuration of the banal and the absurd”, has been resolved once and for all. The Berlin Philharmonic will return to Sibelius in these concerts by interpreting the Third and Fourth Symphonies. They are once again grappling with a composer who once said about his music that it was based first and foremost on “severity of style and profound logic”. And late romantic sentiment? That is just as characteristic of Sibelius’s symphonies as of his violin concerto...