Gergiev conducts Brahms and Szymanowski – With Denis Matsuev and Leonidas Kavakos

Barbican Hall, Barbican Centre, London

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Denis Matsuev — Pianist

Leonidas Kavakos — Violinist

London Symphony Orchestra

Valery Gergiev — Conductor

Program notes

The London Symphony Orchestra performs Szymanowski and Brahms under the baton of Valery Gergiev.

The concert opens with Karol Szymanowski’s Symphony No. 4 for piano and orchestra, one of the Polish composer’s last completed works, dedicated to his friend, the great pianist Arthur Rubinstein. Consisting of three movements, the last of which is described by Szymanowski as “almost orgiastic at times”, the symphony is a whirlwind tour de force for both soloist and orchestra. The evening continues with another of Szymanowski’s works, the Violin Concerto No. 2, notable for its dance-like final movement with folk accents. Finally, Brahms's Symphony No. 4 in E minor closes the evening, a poignant work in four movements. The symphony begins with a disjointed melody interspersed with bounding leaps and sighing silences. Two themes, one solemn and the other sweeter, alternate in the second, more peaceful movement, and the third movement evokes a joyful atmosphere. However, the last movement returns to a sinister mood, with a theme repeated no less than thirty times, evoking the relentless nature of fate…

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