Orientalist melodies of Scheherazade to the jubilation of Offenbach’s opera buffa, with a diabolically rhythmic middle piece by Daníel Bjarnason, featuring soloist Martin Grubinger.
Inspired by tales from the Thousand and One Nights, the symphonic suite Scheherazade is a highly refined example from the Orientalist vein in Russian music to which Borodin and Balakirev also contributed. From Sinbad’s adventures at sea to battle fanfares, the sensuality of fragrant gardens at night, and trance-inducing swirls of light, the colourful images of a mysterious Orient that fall from Scheherazade’s lips are here united by the volutes of the solo violin.
The next piece calls upon a different soloist: virtuoso multi-percussionist Martin Grubinger wholeheartedly commits to this score by Icelandic composer Daníel Bjarnason, drawing us into the inferno of rhythm, which in its harsh grandiosity is not without likeness to the rock and geysers of the Icelandic landscape. Certainly less wild, Offenbach’s buffa Underworld take us back to the Parisian hedonism of the Second Empire, with its extravagance, frivolity, impertinence, unapologetic pursuit of pleasure, and of course, the famous cancan.