August 23, 2013

2013–14 Season: Kenny Grant Recommends

"For me, the Bartók, Brahms, and Higdon concert is one that I'm really excited about.

"Jonathan Biss is an amazing artist and we have not had the Brahms First Piano Concerto in some time. I find the orchestrations of these concertos beyond the scope of the symphonies. Brahms being a pianist really pours his heart and soul into each of his two piano concertos.

"Jennifor Higdon's compositions I find very well put together and extremely musical in scope. Christopher Seaman brought her Blue Cathedral to the orchestra while he was the music director.

"The Bartók Concerto for Orchestra is one of the finest works for orchestra. The RPO has done it many times and it is always welcomed back by the orchestra. It has beautiful solo passages for all the instruments and wonderfully contrasting movements."
--Kenny Grant, Principal Clarinet

Brahms and Bartók
Oct. 17 and 19; Bernhard Gueller, guest conductor; Jonathan Biss, piano

JENNIFER HIGDON  City Scape: Skyline
BRAHMS  Piano Concerto No. 1
BARTÓK  Concerto for Orchestra

Watch a conversation with Jonathan Biss on PBS's News Hour:

Béla Bartók
"The title of [Concerto for Orchestra] is explained by its tendency to treat the single orchestral instruments in a concertant or soloistic manner. The 'virtuoso' treatment appears, for instance, in the fugato sections of the development of the first movement (brass instruments) ... and especially in the second movement, in which pairs of instruments consecutively appear with brilliant passages." --Béla Bartók
"[Concerto for Orchestra] makes tremendous demands on the players' dexterity. Also, the atmosphere sometimes changes very drastically and very unexpectedly. That is what makes it interesting."
--Pierre Boulez
Listen to this NPR clip for more on Concerto for Orchestra, including an excerpt performed by Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony:

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