The violin is the instrument of the devil. In Stravinsky’s L’histoire du soldat, a young soldier pays a high price for his musical talent. Ravel honours his friends who died in the First World War, while Pärt mourns the death of fellow composer Benjamin Britten. Artist in residence Janine Jansen is very much alive and has no need of the devil to dazzle with her violin.
A soldier lets himself be tempted by the devil, with the result that he is eventually excluded from his own life. No one recognises him when he returns home from the war. Stravinsky completed L’histoire du soldat in 1918, and it must have been a recognisable theme for the first listeners. With the violin as a key to Stravinsky’s world, artist in residence Janine Jansen plays the role of the young violin-playing soldier.
Kristiina Poska is making her Concertgebouworkest debut with two well-loved lamentations, both of which are based on early musical forms. Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin is modelled on the Baroque suite: each of the six movements is dedicated to one of the composer’s friends who perished in the First World War. In 1976, the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt was so disconcerted by the death of his pacifist colleague Benjamin Britten that he wrote a musical in memoriam. The lamentation in the form of a proliferation canon, a Renaissance form, would become one of his most popular works.