Sofia Gubaidulina, now in her late 80s, is one of the most revered composers of her generation. Her music is prominent on the Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s spring 2019 schedule: two of her seminal works will be performed at subscription concerts, together with orchestral works by her fellow Russian, Rachmaninoff, and the chamber music of both is highlighted in the Orchestra’s Friday Series.
Offertorium is one of her signature compositions, a riveting violin concerto based on the so-called royal theme from JS Bach’s Musical Offering. This evening’s soloist is Ukrainian-born Israeli violin virtuoso Vadim Gluzman, who has performed the work with major orchestras worldwide and is considered one of its leading interpreters.
Rachmaninoff’s Symphony no. 2, one of his most beloved orchestral pieces, has been part of the standard symphonic repertoire ever since its premiere in 1908. It combines all of the features that make Rachmaninoff so enchanting: gripping melodies and a masterful command of orchestral colour. The Iceland Symphony performed it seven times under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy on its autumn 2018 tour of Japan, and it will be intriguing to hear it again now, just over a year later.
Antonio Méndez has conducted the Iceland Symphony Orchestra twice previously, both times receiving five-star reviews from the critics.
Sofia Gubaidulina Offertorium, violin concerto
Sergei Rachmaninoff Symphony no. 2