A highlight of this season featuring big names: Valery Gergiev leads the Concertgebouworkest in Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony, artist in residence Janine Jansen plays Shostakovich.
When Valery Gergiev conducts Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony, you can expect a particularly intense concert. Hearing this monumental symphony is always an experience, especially with Gergiev conducting, who is known for his idiosyncratic vision and empathy.
The Ninth, more than Bruckner’s earlier symphonies, is imbued with a tragic and spiritual intensity: it is with this work that he knowingly says farewell to life. Throughout the many years it took him to compose the work, he would say, ‘The Ninth will be my masterpiece. I just ask God that He will let me live long enough to complete it.’ Unfortunately, that was not meant to be. The final movement would remain unfinished. But the three completed movements are of an unrivalled eloquence and intensity.
Janine Jansen, artist in residence with the Concertgebouworkest, is performing Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto, composed in 1948. It is an energetic yet unruly work which would never have made it past the harsh Soviet censors of the day. Accordingly, Shostakovich kept it under his hat until after Stalin had died. The work made a tremendous impression on audiences both in and outside the Soviet Union. The solo part demands both technical virtuosity and depth, two of Janine Jansen’s own trump cards. Plus with Valery Gergiev at the helm, a twentieth-century Russian work is always in good hands.