Conductor emeritus Mariss Jansons returns to the podium with Richard Strauss, a champion of sound painting. Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra is one of the most cinematic orchestral works ever composed. Vesko Eschkenazy, principal violinist of the Concertgebouw Orchestra, is performing Mendelssohn’s beautiful Violin Concerto.
Since relinquishing the post of chief conductor in 2015, Mariss Jansons has returned to the RCO each year. He has a close relationship with both the orchestra and its audience. This season he will be demonstrating this with gems from the Romantic era. Richard Strauss is one of his personal favourites. And it’s immediately obvious why when you witness a performance of Also sprach Zarathustra, a musical vision depicting the awakening of civilisation and modern man rising from the chaos. It’s hardly surprising that such evocative music would later inspire a number of film-makers.
Equally compelling are the works of Mendelssohn and Schubert. Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto is one of the most frequently performed solo concertos in the world. ‘The opening theme won’t let go of me,’ Mendelssohn wrote while composing the work. Nearly two centuries later, the concerto is still as irresistible as ever.
The twenty-year-old Schubert composed his overture in Italian style on a bet. He had heard overtures to operas by Rossini and wanted to prove that he, too, could write such vibrant, exciting music.