An evening of contrasts juxtaposing the cosmic magnetism of Anna Thorvaldsdottir, the narrative vigour of a quasi-autobiographical Strauss, and the passionate romanticism—at once tender, epic and lyrical—of young Chopin.
Premiered in London in August 2022, ARCHORA deploys the movements of mass and texture and the unsettling stirrings of intensity that are the hallmark of its Icelandic composer, who seeks to summon ‘primitive forces’ while creating the impression of a ‘parallel realm’.
Far from these mysteries, Strauss’s A Hero’s Life evokes in six sections the journey of an artist—bearing a strong resemblance to the composer himself—and the daily struggle of pursuing his vocation. Requiring a large orchestra, it is a work as heterogeneous as it is spectacular, in which Strauss willingly uses self-quotation.
Chopin’s Concerto No. 1, the work of an impetuous 19-year-old, abounds in melodic beauty, endowing the piano with the majesty of a prima donna. The epic lyricism of its Allegro gives way to the ‘Nocturnes-esque’ dreamy elegy of the ‘romantic’ second movement, followed by the haughty vigour of the concluding Rondo, in the same folk-inspired vein as the Mazurkas.