This Iceland Symphony concert features Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, one of the most revered orchestral works of the twentieth century, as well as one of the most influential — a composition that Pierre Boulez called the “birth certificate of contemporary music.” The music is tense and powerful, with strident chords and unexpected rhythms, yet with many melodies taken from Russian and Lithuanian folk songs. The work describes a sacred ritual in which one of a group of virgins is selected to dance herself to death, ensuring the arrival of spring.
In recent years, Daníel Bjarnason has established himself as one of Iceland’s premier musicians. His Violin Concerto, written for the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, was premiered by the LA Phil on an outdoor stage at Hollywood Bowl for an audience of over 15,000. It has been universally praised by critics, as has the inspired performance by trail-blazing Finish virtuoso Pekka Kuusisto, for whom it was written. The programme begins with Arvo Pärt’s tranquil and beautiful Fratres, one of his loveliest works, a hypnotic set of variations on a six-bar theme.
Arvo Pärt Fratres
Daníel Bjarnason Violin Concerto
Igor Stravinsky The Rite of Spring