Artist in residence Pierre-Laurent Aimard and The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra have programmed an unusual work, Antonín Dvořák's Piano Concerto, which most acclaimed pianists have passed over, probably because it is equally demanding for soloist and orchestra alike. In 2001, Pierre-Laurent Aimard performed the work under the direction of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, when 'both achieved a sparkling, transparent sound and a range of lively gestures,' wrote the Dutch daily De Volkskrant. At the orchestra's helm on this concert is conductor Daniel Harding.
Once again, Dvořák's original version is being performed, which had once nearly faded into oblivion. It was not until 1919 that the work was rediscovered, when a revised version was published by the pianist Vilém Kurz in an effort to improve on the piano part, which he found to be ineffectual. Aimard is not convinced, however. He says, 'Kurz's version lacks the freshness of the original, and it trivialises Dvořák's original composition.'
After the interval, Daniel Harding will be conducting Béla Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle in concert version. Bluebeard and his new (fourth) wife Judith are the only two characters in the opera. When Judith moves into Bluebeard's castle, she demands that its seven closed doors be opened. Bluebeard first says that no one may see what is behind them, but his gruesome secret is eventually revealed. This is a splendid and compelling music drama.