Santtu returns to Bedford for the first time since taking up the title of Principal Conductor in this programme inspired by the natural world.
Celebrating the start of his tenure as just the sixth Principal Conductor in the Orchestra’s 75-year history, Santtu’s opening season focuses on our fragile planet and humanity’s place within it. Joining him onstage tonight is fellow Finn Pekka Kuusisto, whose virtuosic and uniquely engaging performance style has won over the hearts of audiences across the world.
Surrounded by rugged vistas and icy forests, the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius often took inspiration from his natural surroundings when writing his soulful, evocative works. In his Violin Concerto, the intense lyricism of the solo violin threads its way throughout the work like a river through a wide, open landscape. Guiding us along our journey are some of the most memorable melodies ever written for violin, balanced against the power of the stormy orchestra. In Pekka’s hands, expect that Finnish world to burst into life with the raw thrills of a traditional folk dance.
Leaving the frozen tundra behind, the second half of tonight’s programme sees us head instead to Alpine meadows in joyous full bloom: Beethoven himself gives the opening of his Pastoral Symphony the title “Awakening of cheerful feelings upon arriving in the countryside”. Often leaving his Vienna home to explore the sights and sounds of the natural world, the piece puts Beethoven’s experiences into music. We hear the gentle trilling of birds – a nightingale, quail and cuckoo emerge from the score – and feel the immense force of a summer thunderstorm pass us by. As the evening comes to a close with an optimistic finale, it’s a chance to share in our responsibility to protect the fragile, beautiful world that surrounds us.
Need to know
Prices & Discounts
£14 – £38
Multi-buy offer available; under-16s and concession discounts available
1 hour 40 minutes, including 20-minute interval
Philharmonia box office: 0800 652 6717