The Colombian conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada, who studied in Vienna, gave his 2017 debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker with works by Rachmaninov, Strauss and Shostakovich. Together with scholars of the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic, the current principal conductor of the hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, who is also Music Director der Houston Symphony and principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, will apply himself to Bohuslav Martinů’s Double Concerto for two string orchestras, piano and timpani. The composer, who had a predilection for Baroque compositional forms, takes up the Baroque concerto grosso principle here. Martinů composed the three-movement piece in 1939 under great internal stress, concerned about his Czech homeland on the eve of the Second World War in Paris. He later admitted: “It is a composition written under terrible circumstances, but the emotions it voices are not those of despair but rather of revolt, courage, and unshakable faith in the future.”
Then Noah Bendix-Balgley, 1st Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic, will take on Felix Mendelssohn’s famous violin concerto: the work was “declared one of the most beautiful pieces in this genre” immediately after the acclaimed premiere on 13 March 1845 in Leipzig, as the dedicatee Ferdinand David reported to Mendelssohn. The evening will conclude with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony, in which the composer clearly distanced himself from the revolutionary pathos of his Third: the “cheerful, understandable and engaging” work (as an anonymous correspondent wrote in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung in 1811) requires fewer orchestral parts than all the other Beethoven symphonies, while the woodwinds are deployed in an intimate, chamber music style.