Legend in D minor, Op. 59/1;
I Will Not Say - chorus for mixed choir, Op. 29/3;
Slavonic Dance No. 2, Op. 46/2
Ludwig van Beethoven:
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70
About the event
The Budapest Festival Orchestra is taking the latest concert of its long-running Dvořák–Beethoven series on tour across Europe. The legendary London-based Hungarian pianist Sir András Schiff will perform a Beethoven piano concerto alongside the orchestra led by Iván Fischer.
First up from Dvořák will be the opening piece of the Legends suite, promising clear blue skies. His Slavonic Dances are often mentioned as a partner to the Legends suite; of the eight pieces written in the spirit of Czech folk music, each is built around its own melodies. The concert this evening will feature No. 2. The choral works for mixed choir written by the Czech master are seldom performed; following their success last year, the orchestra will perform one entitled I Will Not Say.
Before the intermission, Sir András Schiff – knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2014 for his accomplishments in music – will take his place at the piano to perform the solo from Beethoven’s penultimate piano concerto, a piece the composer dedicated to his friend and patron, Archduke Rudolph. Piano Concerto No. 4 represents an important milestone in Beethoven’s life: this was the last of his concertos in which he personally played the solo part at the premiere. He lost his hearing not long after he finished composing it. But this is not the only reason the piece deserves attention: in contravention of the rules of the period, it begins with a solo piano instead of the usual orchestral overture – a first in the history of music.
Many say Symphony No. 7 is Dvořák’s finest piece of music. After hearing Brahms’s Symphony No. 3, the composer decided to return to the genre following a hiatus of five years. “There is not a single superfluous note in the work”, he wrote to his publisher. The piece features heated Czech political passions, together with the composer’s peaceful, harmonious love for his homeland. The slow movement represents Dvořák’s mourning of his mother, who had recently died, and of his eldest daughter, who passed away at an early age.