Programme Guide

Although almost 1800 kilometres lie between the two port cities of Odesa and Liepāja, between the Black Sea and the Baltic, the programme of the Europakonzert builds a strong bridge between the two: the composer Valentin Silvestrov comes from Ukraine, and Elīna Garanča, in addition to Pēteris Vasks, from Latvia. The mezzo-soprano sings Luciano Berio’s Folk Songs, which were initially written for a chamber ensemble and later reworked for a large orchestra. In a respectful treatment of their folk music originals, the composer makes use of a captivatingly idiosyncratic instrumentation. In his song cycle, Berio explores Italy, the USA, France, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

In Leoš Janáček’s tone poem of the same name, the fictional Cossack leader Taras Bulba fights for the independence of Ukraine. And Jean Sibelius’s Finlandia was understood by contemporaries as a symbol of resistance against Swedish and Russian imperialism. To this day, the work is considered Finland’s unofficial national anthem.

​​The Berliner Philharmoniker’s Europakonzert on 1 May not only celebrates the founding of the orchestra: it is also a symbol of peaceful coexistence in a united Europe. A peace that was profoundly shaken with the attack on Ukraine in February 2022.

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