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Bartók and Ravel

Iceland Symphony Orchestra

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Andrea Tarrodi: Liguria
Béla Bartók: Piano Concerto no. 2
Béla Bartók: Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion, and Orchestra
Maurice Ravel: La valse

Elim Chan

Pierre-Laurent Aimard
Tamara Stefanovich

French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard is one of the most interesting musicians of the present day, one referred to by the music critic of the Wall Street Journal as “a brilliant musician and an extraordinary visionary.” Aimard has won nearly all of the prizes imaginable, including Grammy and Gramophone awards, and was the 2017 recipient of the coveted International Ernst von Siemens Music Prize. He has recorded several CDs for Deutsche Grammophon and has appeared with top-ranking orchestras the world over.

On this programme, Aimard performs Bartók’s Piano Concerto no. 2, which is generally ranked among the most difficult concerti ever written for the instrument. In a memorable comment on the challenges of the piece, pianist András Schiff said, “For the piano player, it’s a finger-breaking piece. It is probably the single most difficult piece that I have ever played, and I usually end up with a keyboard covered by blood.” It should come as no surprise, then, that this concerto has only been performed once before in Iceland, nearly 30 years ago. In addition, Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich perform Bartók’s Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion, and Orchestra, the composer’s own orchestration of his famous Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion. Aimard and Stefanovich’s highly acclaimed recording of the concerto under the direction of Pierre Boulez was nominated for a Grammy

This concert also includes a recent work by Swedish composer Andrea Tarrodi, a 2020 Nordic Council Music Prize nominee. In Liguria, she reminisces about a hike through the five fishing villages of Italy’s Cinque Terre region, by the Ligurian Sea. The work has been enthusiastically received and was performed at the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, prompting one critic to call it “ecstatically colorful; one could think of Respighi polished and rebooted for the 21st century.”

Further information on the concert can be found on the Iceland Symphony Orchestra website.