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Mendelssohn and Beethoven

Iceland Symphony Orchestra

One of the Nordic region’s most talented violinists, and music by Beethoven and two American composers.

Charles Ives: Symphony no. 3, The Camp Meeting
Felix Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
Caroline Shaw: Entracte
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony no. 8

Ludovic Morlot

Johan Dalene

“This is one of the finest violin debuts of the last decade,” said the critic from BBC Music Magazine about the first recording issued by Swedish virtuoso Johan Dalene, who was only 20 years old when the took the musical world by storm. Dalene won first prize in the 2019 Carl Nielsen Violin Competition and then landed a recording contract with BIS. He plays a Stradivarius violin. This concert provides a unique opportunity to see one of today’s brightest stars perform Felix Mendelssohn’s light and lyrical Violin Concerto with the Iceland Symphony.

Brimming with joy and joviality, Beethoven’s Symphony no. 8 shows the composer at the top of his form. Beethoven himself considered it one of his best compositions, in fact. On the podium for this performance is French conductor Ludovic Morlot, who has just completed his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Seattle Symphony. During Morlot’s time at the helm, the Seattle Symphony won five Grammy Awards and was named Orchestra of the Year at the Gramophone Classical Music Awards in 2018.

This programme juxtaposes 19th-century German music with two innovative American works. Charles Ives was one of the United States’ most unusual composers of the early 20th century. An insurance salesman by day, he wrote music outside working hours, producing compositions
considered so avant garde that some of them were not performed until decades later. This was precisely the fate of his Symphony no. 3, written in
1904 but not premiered until 1946. This is its first performance in Iceland. The symphony evokes Ives’ memories of the religious “camp meetings” of his youth, intertwining provocative settings of old hymn tunes in a way that produces a delightful and invigorating sense of chaos.

Caroline Shaw received the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013 at age 30. She is the youngest winner in the 70-year history of the award. Shaw has also drawn considerable attention for her original and inventive music for vocal and chamber groups. The work heard here, Entr’acte for string orchestra, was inspired by Haydn’s minuets and is playfully reminiscent of the Viennese classical tradition.

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