MUSIC: Talented young artists team up for Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra concert

TWO talented young artists are joining the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for a special performance at the Great Hall, Exeter.

American conductor Joshua Weilerstein and prize-winning Venetian pianist Alessandro Taverna present a concert of Nordic dance alongside the Orchestra on Friday.

The opening work, Sibelius’s Spring Song, was originally written as an improvisation for orchestra, but after an unfavourable reception the piece was revised and given a new title to reflect ‘the sadness of spring’.

The re-working allowed the piece to earn the description ‘the fairest flower among Sibelius’s orchestral pieces’.

One of the most famous piano concertos in the repertoire will be performed by Alessandro Taverna who, although young, already has an international career under his belt.

Taverna said: “I’m really happy to perform with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for a second time and I’m especially delighted to be conducted by a musician of the calibre of Joshua Weilerstein.

“On my first visit I played Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto and feel sure the Grieg Piano Concerto will be another splendid experience, destined to remain with me as a vivid impression.”

The concerto, written in 1868 and based on Norwegian folk dance melodies, was the only one for piano Grieg wrote, although he started sketches for a second which was never finished.

The legendary opening takes its famous intervals from a typical folk idiom of Norway, and the theme of the third movement bases itself on the halling dance of Norway, with the traditional Hardanger fiddle being imitated in the instrumentation.

Despite the name Symphonic Dances, Rachmaninov’s 1940 final composition was not written specifically to be danced to, although a choreographer friend was consulted to possibly create a ballet from it.

The work is a favourite of conductor Weilerstein.

He said: “The Rachmaninov is one of my favourite pieces since it has such an incredible variety of characters and colours which are endlessly inventive.

“It also has a dark and ominous side which possibly refers to World War Two, which Rachmaninov witnessed from afar while living in the United States.”

Weilerstein adds: “This programme is a real orchestral showcase, from the warm, passionate string sound which is so typically Sibelius, to the virtuosic, brilliant, and profoundly dark Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances.

“As well as Grieg’s wildly popular Piano Concerto, which is a piece I can never get tired of.”