Sergey Prokofiev composed his highly evocative and colourfully orchestrated ballet music for Shakespeare’s famous love story Romeo and Juliet in 1935. Out of frustration at the difficulty he faced trying to get the work premiered, Prokofiev arranged the original ballet score in two orchestral suites (and later a third) and a set of piano transcriptions. The composer conducted and played the suites as often as he could, and his efforts eventually paid off. His ballet Romeo and Juliet was finally premiered in 1938. That same year, Vladimir Nabokov published Invitation to a Beheading, a novel which would inspire Theo Verbey’s beautifully orchestrated work seventy years later.
Gregor Horsch, first principal cellist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, is performing the Polish composer Witold Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto. It was originally written for the star Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, who premiered the work in 1970. Heinrich Schiff and the Concertgebouw Orchestra performed Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto for the first time on a concert dedicated to, and conducted by, the composer himself in 1976.