James Judd conductor
Alban Gerhardt cello
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
|Overture, Intermezzo and Carnival Music from the opera Notre Dame
Variations on a Rococo Theme in A major, Op. 33
Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61
Bratislava native Franz Schmidt wrote many significant symphonic works. However, it was his opera Notre Dame based on the famous novel by Victor Hugo that brought him the greatest popularity. Its Vienna premiere in 1914 secured international recognition for the composer. It is rarely staged nowadays, but three orchestral intermezzi have become a stable part of the repertory of symphonic orchestras. Variations on a Rococo Theme were composed by Tchaikovsky for his colleague from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, the German teacher W. Fitzenhagen. It is his arrangement which has been played to this day. Robert Schumann conceived his Symphony No. 2 in C major in the spirit of Beethoven’s Fate Symphony as a victory over the unfavourable destiny. Its second movement – a virtuoso Scherzo – thoroughly examines the skills of the string section of any orchestra.
The opening concert of the 53rd Bratislava Music Festival will present the Slovak Philharmonic under the baton of its new music director, the charismatic James Judd. The soloist Alban Gerhardt is “the wizard who can sound his instrument in a masterful virtuosity” (Tagesspiegel), and “the calm authority … one of the finest cellists around – expressive, unshowy and infinitely classy” (The Guardian).