BFO
Budapest Festival Orchestra
Concert serie

Orchestral concert: Finzi, Brahms, Berlioz

Gerald Finzi: The Fall of the Leaf, Op. 20

Johannes Brahms: Double Concerto in A minor for violin and cello, Op. 102

Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14

Vilde Frang and Truls Mørk together on stage, and Gerald Finzi’s debut with the Budapest Festival Orchestra – conductor Sir Mark Elder returns to lead the orchestra in an exciting and diverse concert.

The event will mark the Hungarian premiere of The Fall of the Leaf by Gerald Finzi, a British composer rarely featured in Hungary and known primarily for his choral work. Finzi survived both World Wars and fled from the noise of the city to the countryside, turning to apple growing. His elegy evokes the all-encompassing sadness which is typical of his oeuvre, as well as sombre lyricism and pastoral peace. The Fall of the Leaf was intended to be part of a chamber symphony, but was instead completed as a stand-alone piano duet and eventually as a symphonic piece.

“I was struck with the amusing idea of writing a concerto for violin and cello,” Brahms wrote to Clara Schumann. The purpose of writing the double concerto was to reconcile with his estranged old friend, the violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim. The work, with the cello melody symbolising Brahms and the violin melody Joachim, achieved the desired effect. The two characters, engaging in dialogue, found harmony with one another both in the music and in real life. This concert will feature two Norwegian soloists: the “absolutely enchanting” Vilde Frang, and Truls Mørk, who The Strad says “enthralls the audience from the first to the last note.”

The conductor of the evening, the British Sir Mark Elder, who is also music director of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, describes his own style of conducting (with some self-deprecation) as “sweaty”. He will take on another perspirational task in the second half of the concert. Berlioz’s five-movement Symphonie fantastique is the Romantics’ first successful answer to Beethoven’s symphonies. Accompanied by a voluminous explanatory programme, Berlioz’s piece was inspired by the composer’s own failure in love. The idolised woman is symbolised by a leitmotif which returns in various forms in each movement.

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