Tugan Sokhiev begins his guest performance with the Berliner Philharmoniker with Antonín Dvořák’s action-packed Carnival Overture. This brilliant furioso offers the best entertainment – including a pastoral summer night idyll and the solitude of the forest.
Édouard Lalo’s Concerto for Cello and Orchestra picks up on the Spanish fashion of the time, in the tradition of which the Symphonie espagnole by this French composer also stands – a work, incidentally, that no less a person than Tchaikovsky was highly impressed with. In Lalo’s Cello Concerto, fiery Iberian rhythms meet brilliant orchestral colours and expansive monologues from the solo instrument, which will be played this evening by Bruno Delepelaire, first principal cellist of the Berliner Philharmoniker.
The second half of the concert features music from Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake, an “album of inspired songs without words” (Boris Assafiev). You don’t need to know the story – in which a princess transformed into a swan can only be redeemed by the love of a prince – to be inspired by the imagery of this music. At a time when ballet music threatened to sink into insignificance alongside great operas, symphonies and symphonic poems, it was Tchaikovsky who proved with his contributions to the genre that ballet music can also be as subtle as it is sophisticated. “I cannot for the life of me understand how the word ‘ballet music’ can be associated with anything negative,” he said – we agree with him, and look forward to the selection from Swan Lake that Tugan Sokhiev has brought together for this concert.