Pablo Heras-Casado makes his debut with Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” works
The Hebrides Overture (00:12:58)
Symphony No. 4 for piano and orchestra »Symphonie concertante« (00:32:29)
Marc-André Hamelin Piano
Quatre dédicaces for orchestra (00:15:16)
Symphony No. 3 in A minor »Scottish« (00:48:06)
Pablo Heras-Casado in conversation with Madeleine Carruzzo (00:16:06)
If you want to meet a versatile musician, you should not miss this concert, with Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado making his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker. The website of the just 33-year-old artist contains an impressively long repertoire list of music from all eras and countries – from Tielman Susato (c. 1510–70) to the latest generation of composers. The global response of critics to this “superb new podium talent” (San Francisco Chronicle) shows Heras-Casado’s skills are characterized not only by breadth but also depth.
Heras-Casado has decided to open and close the concert with works by Felix Mendelssohn which were inspired by a trip to Scotland in 1829: the overture The Hebrides and the “Scottish” Symphony. Mendelssohn himself stated that the intense colours and moods of this music were a reflection of his impressions of the trip. However, anyone who imagines they are hearing quotes from real folk music here – such as in the bagpipe pentatonic in the second movement of the symphony – is mistaken: the composer did not think much of the genuine folk music, writing from Scotland, “Unfortunately it gives me toothache”.
Embedded between these works are two compositions from the 20th century: Luciano Berio’s virtuoso orchestra miniatures Quatre dédicaces, which are played here for the first time by the Berliner Philharmoniker, and Karol Szymanowski’s Fourth Symphony. Szymanowski, a father figure of modern Polish music, here creates a refined impressionistic work that invokes the great tradition of the romantic solo concerto with its virtuosic piano part, played by the celebrated Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin.