From the splendours of the Orient to the inner landscapes of Dowland and Schumann, this rich and eclectic programme draws the orchestra into vast and evocative realms.
Ravel’s ‘fairy overture’ Shéhérazade (1898), the only surviving work from an Orientalist opera period in his youth, is a score of shimmering colour, clearly reflecting the influence of Rimsky-Korsakov and, more broadly, Russian music. The song of the solo oboe at the start recalls the formidable melodist that Ravel would become.
Written just two years earlier, Saint-Saëns’ Concerto No. 5 (1896) offers another ‘vision of the Orient’ inspired by his journey to Luxor, Egypt. The Andante in particular presents a highly stylized image of the East: the composer said his inspiration was ‘a Nubian love song sung by boatmen on the Nile...’.
After a leap into the past with Dowland’s Lachrimae Antiquae (1604), a ‘lamento’ or pavane that poetically explores the depths of affliction and the source of tears, the sense of anguish continues with Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 (1846), a work in four movements reflecting the spirit’s desperate struggle against the onslaught of illness.
Concert broadcasted live and available on demand until May 15, 2024 on Philharmonie Live.