In 1913, the Berlin press carried the following announcement: “Composition Evening by Rued Immanuel Langgaard – Under the Protectorate of Her Majesty Queen Alexandrine of Denmark – In the Great Hall of the Philharmonie with the augmented Philharmonic Orchestra”. The Danish composer was 20 years old at the time. However, he had already begun work on his monumental First Symphony, whose premiere was announced with the words quoted above, at the age of 14.
A good century after the acclaimed Berlin premiere, the Berliner Philharmoniker will now again perform the symphony, which the composer subsequently named the “Cliffside Pastorals”, under the baton of Sakari Oramo. The work, which takes over an hour to perform, is characterised by an almost ecstatic expressive power, but also contains moments of concentrated lyricism. Because Langgaard stuck to the late Romantic style throughout his life, he came to be swept aside by Modernism in the further course of his career, but since the 1960s, his music has undergone a renaissance.
In this programme, the rediscovery is juxtaposed with Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, one of the most popular works in the Northern European repertoire. Its beginning is irresistibly captivating: the solo violin enters floating above an exhilarating, shimmering carpet of sound from the strings. A rhapsodic slow movement with melodies of of vast breadth is followed by a dance-like, fast-paced finale. Janine Jansen appears as the soloist with the Philharmoniker for the second time in the 2021/22 season, following her performance of Max Bruch’s First Violin Concerto on New Year’s Eve.