Thursday 25 January 2018
Stockholm Concert Hall
Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 is one of the true, great masterpieces of piano literature. Just listen to the contrasts of the barren and menacing first movement with the sublimely dreamy atmosphere of the second, before the concerto is rounded out with a dancing, lively rondo. It is the sole Beethoven piano concerto in a minor key, and the piece is more muscular and more personal than the earlier piano concertos.
Performing the solo is the young, Russian-born pianist Igor Levit, considered one of the truly exciting pianists of his generation. After winning first prize at the major international piano competition in Hamamatsu, Japan, and second prize at the Maria Callas Grand Prix in Athens in 2004, he has appeared on many major concert stages and at festivals all over the world.
The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo also perform music by two of Finland’s greatest composers: Jean Sibelius and Kaija Saariaho. Sibelius’ one-movement Symphony No. 7 is, in his own words, filled with “joy of life and vitality”. When Kaija Saariaho won the Polar Music Prize in 2013, the jury statement read that she is “[…] a modern maestro who opens up our ears and causes their anvils and stirrups to fall in love.” It is an apt description and is utterly applicable to her Laterna Magica, a piece inspired by Ingmar Bergman and his autobiographical book, which has also given the work its title.
Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3
Kaija Saariaho Laterna Magica
Jean Sibelius Symphony No. 7
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Sakari Oramo conductor
Igor Levit piano