Thursday 21 May 2020, 7.30pmRoyal Festival Hall, London

Philharmonia Box Office : 020 7921 3907

Santtu-Matias Rouvali conductor

Nemanja Radulović violin

Kodály Háry János Suite

Khachaturian Violin Concerto


Sibelius Symphony No. 5


Take a musical journey with “the hottest conductor in Finland” (The Times), from earthy soldiers’ tales to the ecstatic heights of Sibelius.

Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony would make it into many listeners’ top ten. It begins with a whisper from horns and timpani, which spreads through the woodwind section in a glorious evocation of sunrise. The second movement is a set of variations on a simple, wistful theme. Then comes the moment Sibelius fans have been waiting for - the magnificent ‘swan’ theme of the finale, with its jubilant horn chords and sweeping strings. Sibelius wrote it after witnessing the awe-inspiring sight of sixteen swans in flight: "One of the great experiences of my life! God, how beautiful," he wrote in his diary.

Violinist Nemanja Radulovic topped the classical charts with his recording of Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto for Deutsche Grammophon in 2018. He has all the virtuosity required for the folk-infused first movement, the soulfulness for the second movement’s melancholy song, and the flamboyance for the fiery finale. 

To open the evening, Santtu-Matias Rouvali introduces us to Háry János, the eponymous protagonist of Kodaly’s folk opera. In the suite Kodaly created from the opera, Hungarian cimbalom, alto saxophone, tubular bells and bass trombone are invoked to add their vivid colours to the tall tales of an old soldier.