Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Gaffigan / Josefowicz/ Verbey, Knussen, Prokofiev

17 Dec 2017 14:15

Concertgebouw: Grote Zaal
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Conductor James Gaffigan is making his first appearance with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, leading it in works by Prokofiev, Knussen and the Dutchman Theo Verbey. Leila Josefowicz made her debut with the Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2004 in Knussen’s Violin Concerto, a work which she has performed many times the world over ever since. Now she returns with the same concerto, in which the solo violin seems to balance above an ever changing orchestral soundscape, finally ending up in what has been described as a high-spirited circus act.Vladimir Nabokov had this to say about his 1938 novel: “Invitation to a Beheading is a violin in a void.” The main character is Cincinnatus C., a political prisoner, who has been condemned to death because of a “lack of transparency.”. No one seems willing – or able – to tell hem when he will be executed. Theo Verbey explains: “A restrained, somewhat stark tone dominates the short orchestral work I wrote after reading Nabokov’s novel. In a slow tempo, a melody is laid to rest. Shadowy percussion attempts to interrupt the procession, but to no avail. After a few orchestral outpourings, we find ourselves back where we began.”The premiere of Theo Verbey’s Invitation to a Beheading took place during the Vrijdag van Vredenburg series in 2008 and was performed by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. The work was inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s novel of the same name, a Kafkaesque tale about a man condemned to death for obscure reasons.Sergey Prokofiev composed his highly evocative and colorfully 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.


Verbey: Invitation to a Beheading
Ensemble: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Conductor: James Gaffigan

Knussen: Concerto for Violin
Artist: Leila Josefowicz (Violin)
Ensemble: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Conductor: James Gaffigan

Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64: Suite
Ensemble: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Conductor: James Gaffigan