Works by Liszt, Dvořák and Kodály make this a colourful Eastern European programme. Veteran soloist Yefim Bronfman is performing Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto, and conductor Gianandrea Noseda returns to the Concertgebouworkest after his impressive first appearance in 2018 and the In memoriam for Mariss Jansons in March 2020.
The œuvres of Liszt, Dvořák and Kodály invariably reveal something of their Eastern European origins: an exotic rhythm, a snippet of gypsy music, the atmosphere of unspoilt nature. Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony is a peculiar, chameleon-like work. For some conductors, the music is downright tragic, while others emphasise its lightness. It is certainly varied, thanks to Dvořák’s familiar combination of dance rhythms and Slavic melancholy.
No two ‘Liszts’ are exactly alike. Pianistic fireworks are his trademark, but his Second Piano Concerto is more ‘story-line’ than ‘theatrics’. The different themes behave like characters in a novel who are carried away in a Romantic narrative. It’s a challenge for both the heavyweight Bronfman and the conductor Noseda, who is right at home with symphonic poems and other evocative repertoire.
Zoltán Kodály composed his ‘Peacock’ Variations for the Concertgebouworkest in 1938 to commemorate its fiftieth anniversary. The premiere of this very Hungarian, exotic-sounding piece was a big hit in Amsterdam.