British author L. P. Hartley once observed that, "the past is a foreign country: they do things differently there". In this evening's concert, composers draw inspiration from the past, transporting us to "foreign countries" that are in turns mournful, brilliant, and exotic. The first work on the program, Ravel's six-part Suite for Piano Suite Le tombeau de Couperin (performed here in its orchestral version), uses the illustrious musical traditions of 18th century France to pay tribute to the composer's six fallen comrades, victims of the First World War. Tchaikovsky's Variations over a Rococo Theme, written for the German cellist Wilhelm Fitzenhagen, pays homage to the music of Haydn and Mozart, two composers held up by Tchaikovsky as the epitome of the Rococo style. The final piece, Rimsky-Korsokov's four-movement symphonic suite, Scheherazade, is inspired by the fictional past of the Arabian fairytale collection A Thousand and One Nights, in which the beautiful Scheherazade avoids execution by mesmerizing the Sultan of Baghdad for one-thousand-and-one nights with one-thousand-and-one tales.
Andrei Ionita rose to stardom in 2015 when he won first prize at the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, a stunning performance that was streamed live on medici.tv and can be viewed at any time on replay. Ionita has been chosen as a BBC New Generation Artist for 2016-2018 and is a scholarship recipient of the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben.
Photo: Andrei Ionita © Daniel Delang
Symphony Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater – The complete Prokofiev symphonies. Moscow Easter Festival
Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra