›Night on Bald Mountain‹ (Original version by the composer)
Suite from the ballet ›Romeo and Juliet‹, arranged by Andris Poga
- Martin Grubinger – Percussion
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
About the concert
In this concert, Latvian conductor Andris Poga and the DSO continue their joint exploration of the Russian repertoire. Poga – former musical director of the Latvian National Orchestra in Riga and current principal conductor of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra – had conducted the performance of Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony in April 2022; now, works by Modest Mussorgsky and Sergei Prokofiev are on the programme on two evenings.
The contrast between the furiously brilliant tone poem ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ and the ballet music ‘Romeo and Juliet’ illustrates the development of Russian music between the anti-academic “Mighty Five”, to which Mussorgsky belonged, and a 20th-century composer well versed in all styles and with sovereign control of his resources.
Prokofiev began work on his ballet ‘Romeo and Juliet’, based on Shakespeare’s tragedy, in the mid-1930s, when the musician, who had moved to the West in 1918, was preparing for his return to his homeland by making several visits to the Soviet Union. This happened at the time of the worst Stalinist terror, the cultural and political consequences of which Prokofiev also had to experience in the form of harassment. The moods of love, dance, battle, threat and death are masterfully evoked by the composer in a tonal language that combines the impression of classicism with elegantly interspersed dissonances.
The Icelandic composer Daníel Bjarnason, who is also a successful conductor, wrote his Percussion Concerto, which premiered in Gothenburg in 2019 and can be heard in the middle of the programme, for the soloist Martin Grubinger. Unreservedness and musical as well as physical overexertion make the performances of the Austrian multi-percussionist exceptional events in the international concert calendar – with the two concerts with the DSO, Martin Grubinger celebrates his farewell from the Berlin stage.