French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet has been at the forefront of the music world for decades. His recordings have sold in record numbers, and he has performed with stars such as Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, and Cecilia Bartoli. In 2011 Thibaudet premiered Scottish composer James MacMillan’s Piano Concerto no. 3, a massive, colourful work inspired by Gregorian chant and Roman Catholic rituals. MacMillan’s music is unusually rich in tonal colour, and after the premiere one critic described the work as “overflowing with color and incident.” It is truly cause for anticipation that Thibaudet should perform this work in Iceland, together with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s honorary conductor, Osmo Vänskä, who also conducted the premiere.
Beethoven’s Eroica was a ground-breaking contribution to musical literature – a mystical, magical work that redefined the standards for symphonic form. Beethoven is said to have dedicated the symphony to Napoleon Bonaparte himself but to have retracted the dedication when Napoleon declared himself Emperor of the French. Nevertheless, the music is inspired by the image of a hero: strong, brave, dynamic. The programme begins with an atmospheric work by Kaija Saariaho, one of the most frequent prizewinners in the Nordic countries. Here Saariaho seeks inspiration from the Nordic winter sky, in a work that critics have praised universally, calling it “a wonderfully beautiful nocturne with a hint of Impressionism” and “one of Saariaho’s most moving works to date.”
Pre-concert presentation in Hörpuhornið » 23 May 18:00
Kaija Saariaho Ciel d’hiver (Winter Sky)
James MacMillan Piano Concerto no. 3, “The Mysteries of Light”
Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony no. 3, “Eroica”