Former chief conductor Riccardo Chailly continues to hold the title of conductor emeritus of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. And when he returns, the orchestra is in trusted, safe hands, particularly when he conducts such popular repertoire as Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird. The suites are a favourite of Chailly, the orchestra and audiences, but this time we are treated to the rare opportunity of hearing the complete ballet. In addition to being a wonderful fairy tale, The Firebird is one of those exciting works in which nineteenth-century Romanticism takes on bright, previously unheard modern colours.
A great tradition lives on in the violin phenomenon Vadim Gluzman: his mentor was none other than the master Isaac Stern. Gluzman makes his RCO debut with Dmitry Shostakovich’s remarkable and fascinating Second Violin Concerto. When Shostakovich composed the work, his great tormentor Stalin had been dead for fourteen years. All the same, this tortured music makes painfully audible the scars of years of repression and terror.