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VFO / FISCHER / SCHIFF

Brahms, Bartók
András Schiff brings his signature spark and exuberance to the First Concerto by Brahms, for this exhilarating finale to the Festival where Iván Fischer conducts the Verbier Festival Orchestra for Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra.
Programme

JOHANNES BRAHMS
Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor Op. 15

BÉLA BARTÓK
Concerto for Orchestra Sz. 116

With its blend of sombre-toned drama, poetic warmth and Czech dance, it’s strange that Dvořák’s Piano Concerto isn’t more of a repertoire staple; especially when we’ve moved beyond the days when pianists reject a soloist part that’s technically demanding yet not overtly virtuosic. Completed in 1883, its richly-hued opening theme provides much of the work’s motivic material, and all three movements draw on folk music in their various ways. The slow movement is especially lovely, showcasing the piano’s bell-like sonorities, and opening with a horn solo. Bartók’s deeply expressive Concerto for Orchestra of 1943 begins with a folk-redolent Introduzione, followed by a ‘Presentation of Couples’. An elegiac third movement then leads to an Intermezzo interrotto, before brass open the glittering, high-octane finale with its brilliant contrapuntal writing.