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Souvenir de Florence. – RMM

In the opening concert of Reykjavík Midsummer Music 2019 in the symphonic auditorium Eldborg Hall, three giants of German and Russian chamber music gaze inwards, reminisce on memorable persons and places, and contemplate life’s mysterious, bitter-sweet impermanence. The concert begins with Johannes Brahms’s final song cycle, Vier ernste Gesänge, or Four Serious Songs, which Brahms wrote during his beloved friend Clara Schumann’s last days. The song cycle is both mournful and strikingly beautiful, perfect for the dark, warm voice of Austrian baritone Florian Boesch. Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his magnificent Piano Trio No. 2 in the memory of a recently deceased friend, Ivan Sollertinsky, who had been a trusted ally to the composer through thick and thin – even Stalin’s persecution. The final work on the programme is brighter in spirits. Pjotr Tchaikovsky wrote his Souvenir de Florence inspired by the Italian city’s beauty and atmosphere. This extraordinary work was originally written for a string sextet, but now receives its Icelandic premiere in a brilliant new arrangement for piano trio by Matan Porat.

Program:

Johannes Brahms                            Vier Ernste Gesänge, Op. 121 (1896)
Dmitri Shostakovich                       Piano Trio No. 2 in e-minor, op 67 (1944)

Intermission

Pjotr Tchaikovsky                        Souvenir de Florence, op. 70 (1890)                                                                    –  New arrangement for piano trio by Matan Porat

Artists:

Florian Boesch, baritone
Ilya Gringolts, violin
Yura Lee, violin
Leonard Elschenbroich, cello
Jakob Koranyi, cello
Víkingur Ólafsson, piano