The Concertgebouworkest and its principal trombonist Jörgen van Rijen are performing a world premiere by Tan Dun. Conductor Shiyeon Sung also leads the orchestra in Bartók’s music from The Miraculous Mandarin and utopias by Isang Yun and Theo Verbey. War and violence are closely juxtaposed with the unbridled pleasure of dance and play in this programme full of contrasts.
Computer game heroes go head-to-head in a new virtuoso trombone concerto entitled Three Muses in Video Game, which the Chinese composer Tan Dun has written for the Concertgebouworkest and its intrepid principal trombonist Jörgen van Rijen. The Korean conductor Shiyeon Sung’s Concertgebouworkest debut also includes the utopian ‘dance fantasy’ Muak by her compatriot, the freedom fighter Isang Yun, in which East and West forge a peaceful alliance.
Shortly after the First World War, Bartók wrote music for a pantomime full of sex and violence: The Miraculous Mandarin. The brilliant music featuring sounds of the city and wild chase scenes still sounds modern today. The Far East returns here in the form of a rich Chinese man who would appear to be indestructible until his carnal longing is finally fulfilled.
The opening work is by the Dutch composer Theo Verbey, who passed away in 2019. In his Lumen ad finem cuniculi, a blinding light shines at the end of a tunnel. A percussion quartet of marimbas and vibraphones form the warm heart of this melodious work.