The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is juxtaposing Tchaikovsky’s First Symphony with Mysteriën, a work composed by Louis Andriessen in 2013 to mark the orchestra’s 125th anniversary.
The conductor Tugan Sokhiev garnered great acclaim for his last performances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, in 2006 and 2010. Now he returns with Louis Andriessen’s beautiful Mysteriën and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1. The young Tchaikovsky took inspiration from Russia, Beethoven and Mendelssohn. The title ‘Winter Daydreams’ is largely connected with the first two movements, entitled ‘Dreams of a Winter Journey’ and ‘Land of Desolation, Land of Mists’. A number of his fellow composers, who had already put the young Tchaikovsky through his paces, were of the opinion that the First Symphony was too ‘Western’ and not Russian enough. This is rather odd – with its prominent themes taken from Russian folk music and its melancholy character, Tchaikovsky’s First could well be called an emphatically Russian symphony.
In 2013, on the occasion of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s 125th anniversary, Louis Andriessen composed Mysteriën based on texts by the Dutch medieval mystic Thomas à Kempis. Andriessen’s first orchestral work in forty-five years, Mysteriën proved to be a real gem and is now winning a permanent place for itself in the symphonic repertoire.