This week, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouworkest is host to conductor Myung-whun Chung and cellist Gautier Capuçon who plays Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme. Also on the programme is Bruckner’s Symphony No 6.
Myung-whun Chung is currently Principal Guest Conductor of Staatskapelle Dresden – a role he has held since the beginning of the 2012/13 season, and he’s the first conductor to have done so in the history of the orchestra. He is also Honorary Conductor Laureate of The Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. Maestro Chung was formerly Music Director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Opéra de Paris-Bastille, and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.
Highlights of Maestro Chung’s 2021-22 season include a return visit to La Fenice to conduct Fidelio, and a European tour with the Wiener Symphoniker. He will also continue his regular collaborations with Staatskapelle Dresden, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, as well as his roles as Principal Guest Conductor of the Teatro Comunale di Firenze and Principal Conductor of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome.
Multiple award-winning cellist Gautier Capuçon, according to Gramophone magazine, “…. plays the cello with the control and wisdom of a much older musician. The lightness of his touch and the consistent clarity of his bow strokes are quite admirable in themselves, but when combined with an uncanny sweetness of tone in the higher registers they are breathtaking”. Regularly appearing with many of the world’s finest orchestras, conductors and instrumentalists, he is known for his profoundly expressive yet spirited artistry. He is both founder and leader of the ‘Classe d’Excellence de Violoncelle’ at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris and a passionate ambassador for the Orchestre à l’École Association, which takes classical music to more than 40,000 thousand school children across France.
This 2021/22 season includes performances with the philharmonic orchestras of Vienna, Munich and New York, the Cleveland and the Mariinsky Theatre orchestras. He is Artist-in-Residence at the Paris Philharmonie as well as the Wiener Konzerthaus, and performs on tour as a chamber musician at venues such as the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Tonhalle Zürich, Philharmonie Berlin and the Herkulessaal der Residenz Munich, as well as at festivals worldwide, including the Enescu, Rostropovich, Prague Spring, St Denis and Evian festivals.
Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme in A major, Opus 33 was his first composition for cello and orchestra. Written between December 1876 and January 1877, the work was dedicated to cellist Wilhelm Fitzenhagen, and for many years was known in a heavily edited version by Fitzenhagen. It would appear that, having composed the Variations, Tchaikovsky submitted the work to the cellist for checking, and he made some significant changes to it. Even though Tchaikovsky wasn’t entirely happy with Fitzenhagen’s amendments, he nevertheless orchestrated the piece from the piano arrangement by Fitzenhagen.
This version premiered in November 1877 at a symphony concert by the Russian Musical Society in Moscow, conducted by Nikolay Rubinstein. Tchaikovsky was abroad at the time and missed the performance, but press comment was said to be very favourable. Tchaikovsky’s original version of the Variations was performed for the first time on 24th April 1941 in Moscow, played by Danyl Shafran, conducted by Aleksandr Melik-Pashayev, and subsequently by Sergey Shirinsky.
Anton Bruckner completed his Symphony No 6 in September 1881, having worked on it for two years. He was known for reworking and revising his works, but with this symphony, Bruckner seems to have been satisfied with the original version. It was performed only once during the composer’s lifetime, and even then only the two middle movements. The first full performance took place in 1899, conducted by Gustav Mahler who had made a number of substantial cuts and other amendments. The premiere of Bruckner’s Sixth Symphony, as he had written it, took place in 1935, almost 40 years after the composer’s death.
Myung-whun Chung leads the Concertgebouworkest in Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, with soloist Gautier Capuçon, and Bruckner’s Symphony No 6, at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, on 30th and 31st March and 1st April. Tickets may be purchased via this link.
Information sourced from: