This Friday evening, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra presents the first of three online concerts, in which Myung-whun Chung leads the Orchestra in a program featuring the Violin Concerto by Sibelius – with principal violinist Liviu Prunaru as soloist – and the Brahms Symphony No 4.
Myung-whun Chung has held the position of Principal Guest Conductor of Staatskapelle Dresden since the beginning of the 2012/13 season, the first conductor to have done so in the history of the orchestra. He is also Honorary Conductor Laureate of The Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and Music Director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.
He was formerly Music Director of the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Teatro Comunale di Firenze, Music Director of the Opéra de Paris-Bastille, Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and Principal Conductor of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Maestro Chung regularly appears at Teatro La Fenice, and recently at the Wiener Staatsoper as well.
Romanian violinist Liviu Prunaru was the 1999 winner of the Juilliard Mendelssohn Competition, which led to his New York solo debut at Lincoln Center with the Juilliard Symphony. He was appointed principal violinist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in September 2006, and from 2010 to 2013 was also Artistic Director of the Menuhin Music Academy. He has given recitals throughout the world, and also appeared with the Royal Philharmonic and London Symphony orchestras.
In this performance, Liviu Prunaru plays the original version of the Sibelius Violin Concerto. Written in 1903, the concerto was first performed in 1904, but since it was poorly received, Sibelius withdrew it and released a revised version in 1905. It was in 2015, to mark the composer’s 150th birthday, that the composer’s heirs and publisher decided to release the early version of the work – generally regarded as more dramatic than the revised version – newly edited from the manuscript in the Helsinki University Library and published by Robert Lienau Musikverlag.
The concert closes with Brahms Symphony No 4 – a work that almost didn’t survive beyond its pre-premiere. Two of Brahms’ friends – who were treated to a preview in a setting for two pianos – were somewhat disparaging about the symphony, filling the composer with doubt. However, it was well received at the premiere in Meiningen in October 1885, with the composer conducting the Meiningen Court Orchestra, and following the symphony’s first performance in Vienna, Brahms was convinced that the work would survive – as indeed it has, and is well loved to this day.
Myung-whun Chung leads the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in the Sibelius Violin Concerto – soloist Liviu Prunaru – and the Brahms Symphony No 4 in an online performance from 8.00 pm CET on Friday, 22nd January. The concert is available to view on the Concertgebouw website or on its Facebook and YouTube channels, and will be available to watch for a week after the initial stream.
The concert on Friday, 29th January, has Mattias Pinscher on the podium, directing his Songs from solomon’s garden – with baritone Georg Nigl as soloist – and Ravel’s Ma mère l’Oye (Mother Goose Suite), and the concert on 5th February, features Trevor Pinnock directing Mozart’s Serenade No 10 Gran Partita.
Information sourced from:
Concertgebouw Orchestra programme notes