War & Peace with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has programmed all its April concerts around the theme of War & Peace in an expression of hope for lasting peace and for a future in which respect and creativity are shared by all.
Peace has prevailed in Europe for over seventy years. Here young people have a bright future, as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has seen on its tour of all twenty-eight member states of the European Union, RCO meets Europe. But European cooperation, founded on a multiplicity of voices and cultural differences, is fragile. In the words of chief conductor Daniele Gatti, ‘It’s so easy for us to take peace for granted, but things can escalate quickly, and peace can be destroyed in the blink of an eye. Our concerts around War & Peace are our way of showing just how lucky we are.’
The concerts are grouped around three historical events which were crucial in shaping modern-day Europe.
The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle of 1748 is the central theme of the concerts given on 6 and 7 April. Under the direction of Trevor Pinnock, the orchestra will be performing Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 with soloist Vilde Frang, who is making her first appearance with the RCO, followed by Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks and Haydn’s Symphony No. 100 (‘Military’).
Jakub Hrůša is conducting a programme inspired by the Coalition Wars (fought from 1792 to 1815) in the Main Hall on 18 and 19 April and at De Oosterpoort in Groningen on 20 April. The programme features Kodály’s Háry János Suite, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with soloist Igor Levit (who is performing with the orchestra for the first time) and Prokofiev’s symphonic suite from War and Peace, based on Tolstoy’s monumental novel.
On the concerts conducted by Daniele Gatti on 12 and 13 April, the Second World War is portrayed in four ‘resistance works’: Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s Concerto funebre with violinist Leonidas Kavakos, Arthur Honegger’s Symphony No. 3 (‘Liturgique’), Henriëtte Bosmans’s Doodenmarsch (on 12 April) and Rudolf Escher’s Musique pour l’esprit en deuil (13 April). The world premiere of Guillaume Connesson’s Eiréné has also been programmed. In ancient Greece, Eirene was not only the personification of peace, but also the goddess of spring, the season in which military generals would traditionally prepare for a new war. Other new works by Connesson were premiered at the Concertgebouw earlier this season by the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra.
The concert in the innovative Horizon Series given on Thursday, 12 April focuses on War & Peace – Hope, Sacrifice and Resistance, in collaboration with the Dutch Resistance Museum. Actress Carly Wijs is reciting Clara Eggink’s text set by Henriëtte Bosmans in her Doodenmarsch (March of the Dead). She is also giving a lecture on the 1943 attack on the Register Office in Amsterdam, in which Bosmans’s former life partner, the cellist and conductor Frieda Belinfante, played an important role. This historic event is also the focus of the exhibition entitled Explosiegevaar! (Explosion Hazard!) on show at the Resistance Museum.
Entrée Late Night, organised by the Entrée youth association, follows with performances by musicians of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and others.
On Wednesday, 11 April, the Horizon lecture will be given at the SPUI25 academic and cultural centre, with a performance of Henriëtte Bosmans’s String Quartet by musicians of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
On 15 April, a chamber music concert is also being given by members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra as part of the Close-up Series in the Recital Hall of the Concertgebouw. The Second World War is represented here in Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin duTemps, which was composed and premiered in a prison camp, and in Weinberg’s Piano Quintet.