Concertgebouw Orchestra to play to full houses again

At the press conference held on 15 February, it was announced that the orchestra may again play to full houses again starting from 25 February. The concerts on 16 and 17 February are still subject to coronavirus measures, but we are delighted to be able to welcome you without restrictions to our followingconcerts.
image: Milagro Elstak
image: Milagro Elstak
The Concertgebouw Orchestra is delighted to be able to play to full houses again now that social distancing restrictions will be lifted. Only the concerts on 16 and 17 February are still subject to coronavirus measures.

The orchestra is welcoming Santtu-Matias Rouvali on 3, 4 and 6 March. He is standing in at short notice for conductor emeritus Riccardo Chailly, who, to his regret, has had to cancel. Maestro Chailly has announced that in these times of pandemic, due to his responsibility as Music Director he is focussing solely on his work at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. He will return to the Concertgebouw Orchestra next season.

The special programme performed on these three concerts remains largely unchanged: Santtu-Matias Rouvali will be leading the orchestra in Henriëtte Bosmans’s Concertstuk for violin and orchestra with the orchestra’s leader Vesko Eschkenazy as soloist and in Dmitry Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 12. The concert opens with Finlandia by Rouvali’s compatriot, Sibelius (rather than Zemlinsky’s Sinfonietta).

It is the third time that the Finnish conductor has led the orchestra, following his very compelling first appearance in January 2020 and the concert he led featuring Sibelius’s Sixth and Seventh Symphonies in December 2021, a performance which garnered great public and critical acclaim.

Works by Bosmans and Shostakovich rehabilitated
The Concertgebouw Orchestra had close ties for many years with the composer and pianist Henriëtte Bosmans (b. 1895, d. 1952). Since its world premiere in 1935, conducted by Willem Mengelberg and featuring the orchestra’s then leader Louis Zimmerman as soloist, her Concertstuk for violin and orchestra has been performed seven additional times, yet not since 1951. That’s why it’s high time the work be reincorporated into the orchestra’s repertoire.

Shostakovich’s rarely performed Symphony No. 12 (‘The Year 1917’) also deserves to be reflected on and reassessed. The controversial work is an ode to the Russian Revolution and is often dismissed as a sign of deference to the Soviet regime. As is always the case with Shostakovich, however, the story behind the music is far more nuanced than we might expect. The Concertgebouw Orchestra has never performed the work in concert, but did record it once (for Decca) under the baton of Bernard Haitink during his tenure as chief conductor.