Programme guide

If you want to meet a versatile musician, you should not miss this concert, with Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado who made his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2011. The website of the 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 characterised not only by breadth but also depth.

Heras-Casado opens and closes 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.

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