Romeo and Juliet
About the program
KALEVI AHO: MINEA
The composer born in 1949 is one of the Finland’s foremost contemporary composers recognised around the world. He studied composition under Einojuhani Rautavaara in Helsinki, then under Boris Blacher in Berlin. Besides the fifteen symphonies and nineteen concertos, he wrote four operas and several choruses and chamber pieces. Most CD records of his works featured Osmo Vänskä as conductor. His orchestral work Minea was composed in 2008.
BARTÓK: PIANO CONCERTO NO 1
“I must compose a piano concerto. This is really missing. That will be my next work” – Béla Bartók said in an interview in 1925. At that time, Bartók could boast a promising international career as a pianist. He needed a large-scale work in which he could express himself both as a composer and as a pianist. The Piano Concerto No. 1 breaks with the solo instrument-orchestra configuration characterising the romantic concertos, and instead followed an orchestration ideal based on concerting blocks and groups of tones. Its other characteristic is the mono-thematic structure: the entire work is developed from a single basic formula.
PROKOFYEV: SELECTIONS FROM ROMEO AND JULIET, BALLET MUSIC, OP.64
Prokofyev wrote a ballet based on Shakespeare’s tragedy at the request of the Bolshoi Theatre; however, the theatre rejected it as unperformable. Afterwards, the composer arranged the music of the ballet into two concert suites. The suites gained success in 1936 and 1937, and the original ballet theatre version premiered in Czechoslovakia. Presenting a piece ordered by a Soviet theatre from a leading Soviet composer abroad, and to top it all with great success, aroused international indignation. The Russian premiere in January 1940 featured Leonid Lavrovsky from the Kirov Theatre of Leningrad as choreographer, and from that moment onwards the piece became an iconic work of Soviet art.