The Spider and the Sea
Reinhold Glière: Harp Concerto, Op. 74
Claude Debussy: The Sea (La Mer)
Nature, impressionism, Romanticism... Albert Roussel's name might not sound familiar in Hungary, but as Debussy and Ravel's contemporary, his tone is also impressionistic and frequently oriental. His ballet pantomime, The Spider’s Feast, is set in the "society" of a garden. The composer then rearranged it as an orchestral suite, which he initially titled Symphonic Fragments. Reinhold Glière is an even more curious phenomenon in music history: the Kyiv-born Soviet Russian composer wrote his harp concerto, evoking the 19th century and Brahms' music, in Stalin's shadow. Its melodiousness, harmonies, and idyllic and optimistic tone completely ignore the terror of its time. Only few composers dared to leave their own world so far behind. The programme also includes a popular piece: Debussy's The Sea. The colourfully scored composition may kick off our summer holiday, as we can feel the waves of the sea without having to travel long and while spending a day with Debussy on the seaside.
TUNED TO INNOVATION
It won’t be the first time that the worldwide celebrated harpist Xavier de Maistre has performed before the audience of the Pannon Philharmonic: now, after ten years, he will return to the Pécs-based orchestra with one of the favourites of his repertoire: Reinhold Gliere’s Harp Concerto. De Maistre won his first international competition at the age of 16, launching a unique career. He was the first harpist to act as the soloist of the Vienna Philharmonic in 2002.
You are going to perform with the Pannon Philharmonic in June 2023. Have you been to Hungary before?
Yes, I played alongside the Pannon Philharmonic in Pécs ten years ago. I have given recitals several times in Budapest too, for example, in the framework of the Budapest Spring Festival. I have only the best of memories of my visits in Hungary. The Hungarian audience always welcomes me warmly; they are very cultivated and musical. At the end of the concert, they express their liking with unique rhythmic applause, which is great to experience as a performer.
At the concert, you’ll be playing Reinhold Gliere’s Harp Concerto, one of your favourite pieces. What is there to know about this piece?
It is the most famous harp concerto from the Romantic Period when countless other concertos were written for this instrument. It evokes Tchaikovsky and Brahms and is a very well-composed work, thanks to the harpist Ksenia Alexandrovna Erdely who helped Gliere perfect it. In my opinion, one can show everything to the audience that is at all possible on the harp. This season, a new record of mine will be released featuring some other works by Gliere.
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