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Bertrand de Billy has been Principal Guest Conductor with the Dresdner Philharmonie since the 2014-15 season, having established his reputation in a wide variety of repertoire, from Bach and the Baroque masters to the work of our greatest contemporaries. This delightful 2019 concert sees Billy join forces with a young pianist of exceptional talent who has already drawn comparisons to Glenn Gould and Van Cliburn: the astonishing Lucas Debargue. With its 1,760 seats and pristine acoustics, Dresden's Kulturpalast—modeled after the Berlin Philharmonie and the Leipzig Gewandhaus—is an ideal backdrop for three masterpieces by Dutilleux, Saint-Saëns, and Haydn.
The title of Mystère de l'instant (Mystery of the instant) may reveal the deep search for the ineffable that animates Dutilleux's work: "What I aspire to most deeply," he says, "is to draw as near as possible, through music, to a great mystery—to reach the unreachable." After this highly enigmatic work comes Saint-Saëns's Piano Concerto No. 5, "The Egyptian," whose narrative structure has seduced audiences since its 1899 premiere. The evening closes out with Haydn's penultimate Symphony No. 103, one of the twelve "London symphonies" that are often considered the composer's greatest contributions to the genre.