Krzysztof Penderecki

Krzysztof Penderecki
Krzysztof Penderecki (1933-2020) conducting his oratorio "Seven Gates of Jerusalem" at the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, in 2001. Photo by Dmitry Lovetsky

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Béla Bartók: Piano Concerto No.1 in A major – Yuja Wang, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen

The first evening concert at this year's Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm brought together a veteran maestro, Esa-Pekka Salonen, with a rising star, pianist Yuja Wang, in a concert of two works from the first half of the 20th century featuring piano and orchestra, Bartók's Piano Concerto Νo.1 and Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie.

In collaboration with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Wang and Salonen's strategy was to emphasise, even exaggerate the key features of each piece. In the case of the Bartók, this served to make more plain than ever the concerto's wilful vagueness. Here, Salonen and Wang seemed to be colluding in a large-scale deception, the music continually promising or even appearing to deliver some semblance of clarity, only to be proven superficial, directionally ambiguous, constantly changing tack. Having established such a disorienting context, even more so in the austere second movement which threatens to reduce the soloist to an automaton, this only made the work's brusque tutti eruptions all the more fiery and exhilarating, albeit inscrutable. The strategy's pièce de résistance, though, was in the final movement where Salonen turned the unexpected moments of lyricism – emotional oases in a dry place of feverish momentum – into the lifeblood of the work's joyous concluding romp, somehow making Bartók sound like Gershwin, only with fewer tunes.

Source: Simon Cummings, August 31, 2016 (

Η διάσημη Κινέζα πιανίστρια Γιούτζα Ουάνγκ ερμηνεύει το Κοντσέρτο για πιάνο αρ. 1 σε Λα μείζονα, του σημαντικού Ούγγρου συνθέτη Μπέλα Μπάρτοκ. Τη Συμφωνική Ορχήστρα της Σουηδικής Ραδιοφωνίας διευθύνει ο διακεκριμένος Φινλανδός αρχιμουσικός Έσα-Πέκα Σάλονεν. Η συναυλία δόθηκε στην αίθουσα συναυλιών Berwaldhallen στη Στοκχόλμη, στο πλαίσιο του Φεστιβάλ Βαλτικής Θάλασσας, στις 28 Αυγούστου 2016.

Béla Bartók (1881-1945)

♪ Piano Concerto No.1 in A major, Sz. 83, BB 91 (1926)

i. Allegro moderato – Allegro
ii. Andante – attacca
iii. Allegro molto

Yuja Wang, piano

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Esa-Pekka Salonen

Baltic Sea Festival, Stockholm, Berwaldhallen Concert Hall, August 28, 2016

(HD 720p)

The culmination of Béla Bartók's so-called "piano year", 1926, was his Piano Concerto No.1, which he premiered in Frankfurt, in July 1927, with Furtwängler conducting. The work was at best cautiously received; at worst, it met with incomprehension and derision, especially in the United States. Bartók had spent the summer of 1926 reworking his entire approach to composition, abandoning the traditional concept of theme. Instead, he sought to attain a more basic level of expression, working with motifs or note-cells, with narrow range and simple rhythmic impulses.

As he demonstrated in this concerto, however, the reduction was accomplished in order to bring about a new type of elaboration that was both independent of the post-Romantic compositional procedures of the recent past and fully participant in the modern spirit of musical innovation. This composition's close relation to the other major piano works of 1926, exemplified by the Out of Doors piano suite, is immediately evident in the first movement's repeated hammering notes in the lowest register of the piano. Percussion immediately comes to the fore in these introductory bars, where it collaborates with the piano (underscoring Bartók's recent thoughts on the percussive nature of the instrument), while horns blast a fortissimo theme so primitive that it seems less than a theme. Indeed, it is one of two note-cells from which the entire work grows with ever-greater elaboration. The driving pulse is unceasing throughout, while the themes themselves, augmented and extended through variation-style technique, remain somewhat neutral in their emotional cast.

Bartók employs a range of piano effects including glissandi that are not anchored in any tonality, as well as whole-tone scales and tight clusters based on the interval of the minor second (sometimes spaced over an octave). The strings are used sparingly, mostly for textural variety, playing in unison (occasionally in canon), with most of the harmonic work done by the winds. A ritornello of polyphonic fanfares in brass and winds is particularly striking, and its final appearance triggers the brief and uncompromising coda. The strings are silent during the second movement, which is scored for piano, winds, and percussion alone. The ever-present primitive rhythmic pulse is halved here, with piano and percussion opening the movement in stark harmonic black and white. Winds doubled at the octave state a gloomy theme in canon, which expands organically and is answered by the piano in sharp dissonance. Midway through the Andante, the piano slips into a dissonant ostinato in slow 3/8 (soft percussion accompanying), while the winds slowly weave a fine texture based on the main theme. The episode expands and fades, with percussion having the last, nearly inaudible, word.

The frenzied finale is launched by loud percussion, picking up almost attacca from the slow pulse of the preceding movement. Here, the strings join the pulse with a fast, primitive-sounding ostinato (open fifths) over which the martellato theme is pounded out by the piano. The percussive character of the movement, exemplified by a short, insolent trumpet solo, may indicate Bartók's awareness of some of the jazz-influenced works of the 1920s; however, the movement is essentially a wild Hungarian dance. The brass fanfares return, with "night music" (reminiscent of the "Musiques nocturnes", the Out of Doors piano suite), glissandi played by flutes and piano, and the concerto rushes to a spirited conclusion.

Source: Mark Satola (

Την 1η  Ιουλίου 1927, κατά τη διάρκεια του 5ου Διεθνούς Φεστιβάλ του ISCM (International Society for Contemporary Music) στη Φρανκφούρτη, γίνεται η πρεμιέρα του Κοντσέρτου για πιάνο αρ. 1 του Μπέλα Μπάρτοκ, υπό τη διεύθυνση του μεγάλου Γερμανού μαέστρου Βίλχελμ Φούρτβενγκλερ και σολίστ στο πιάνο τον ίδιο τον συνθέτη.

Μετά από μια περίοδο λιγοστής συνθετικής δραστηριότητας αλλά εκτεταμένης μελέτης, ο Μπάρτοκ επιστρέφει το 1926 εγκαινιάζοντας μια νέα δημιουργική περίοδο. Έχοντας μελετήσει σε βάθος την έντεχνη δυτική μουσική παράδοση (Μπαχ, Μπετόβεν, Ντεμπυσσύ) και έχοντας αποκομίσει πληθώρα εμπειριών από την προσωπική του έρευνα επάνω στη λαϊκή μουσική της πατρίδας του και άλλων χωρών της ανατολικής Ευρώπης, κι έχοντας επίσης δεχτεί επιρροές και από τα σύγχρονά του μουσικά ακούσματα (κυρίως από τον Στραβίνσκι), καταλήγει πλέον στη διαμόρφωση ενός απολύτως προσωπικού και δεξιοτεχνικού στυλ. Όλος αυτό ο «καμβάς» των επιρροών του, βρίσκεται πίσω από τις νότες του Κοντσέρτου για πιάνο αρ. 1: η μπαρόκ πολυφωνία, η κλασική μοτιβική επεξεργασία, οι σκληρές διαφωνίες, τα αιχμηρά ηχοχρώματα και τα ρυθμικά «σφυροκοπήματα» του 20ου αιώνα...

Η πρεμιέρα του Κοντσέρτου είχε μέτρια επιτυχία. Το έργο αποδείχτηκε αρκετά δύσκολο, τόσο για την ορχήστρα όσο και για το ακροατήριο. Ακόμη και ο ίδιος ο Μπάρτοκ παραδέχτηκε ότι το μέρος του πιάνου αποτελεί μεγάλη δοκιμασία για τον ερμηνευτή. Κι έτσι μετά από αυτή την εμπειρία του, φρόντισε ώστε το επόμενο Κοντσέρτο για πιάνο να είναι μελωδικότερο και με λιγότερες τεχνικές δυσκολίες.

Ο Μπέλα Μπάρτοκ γεννήθηκε στις 25 Μαρτίου 1881 στο Nagyszentmiklós, μια μικρή κωμόπολη που ανήκε τότε στην Αυστροουγγρική Αυτοκρατορία (σήμερα η πόλη ονομάζεται Sînnicolau Mare και ανήκει στη Ρουμανία), και πέθανε στις 26 Σεπτεμβρίου 1945, σε ηλικία 64 ετών, σε νοσοκομείο της Νέας Υόρκης. Εκτός από συνθέτης – ένας από τους σημαντικότερους του 20ού αιώνα , υπήρξε πιανίστας και εθνομουσικολόγος. Μεγάλωσε μέσα σ' ένα φιλόμουσο περιβάλλον και έλαβε τα πρώτα μαθήματα πιάνου από τη μητέρα του. Αργότερα σπούδασε πιάνο και σύνθεση στη Βασιλική Μουσική Ακαδημία της Βουδαπέστης. Το τραγούδι μιας γυναίκας από την επαρχία, που άκουσε τυχαία το 1904, πυροδότησε το δια βίου ενδιαφέρον του για την παραδοσιακή μουσική της Ουγγαρίας, της Ρουμανίας και των γύρω περιοχών. Συνέλεξε εκατοντάδες τραγούδια και χορούς, επιμελήθηκε την έκδοσή τους σε συλλογές και μελέτησε σε βάθος την παραδοσιακή μουσική. Επιπλέον ασχολήθηκε με την ενορχήστρωση αρκετών λαϊκών μελωδιών, συνέθεσε έργα βασισμένα σε κάποιες από αυτές και δανείστηκε στοιχεία από διάφορες μουσικές παραδόσεις τα οποία ενσωμάτωσε στις ορχηστρικές του δημιουργίες.

Γενικά, η μουσική του Μπάρτοκ είναι ένα πολύ ιδιαίτερο «μείγμα» στοιχείων τα οποία συνέλεξε και αφομοίωσε από τις «πηγές» που ο ίδιος θαύμαζε: τον Φραντς Λιστ, τον Ρίχαρντ Στράους, τον Κλωντ Ντεμπυσσύ, την παραδοσιακή μουσική και τον Ιγκόρ Στραβίνσκι. Η μελωδική γονιμότητα και η ρυθμική ζωντάνια είναι τα κύρια χαρακτηριστικά που εξασφάλισαν την αθανασία σε όλο το έργο του.

Πηγή: Άρης Δημοκίδης (

Photo by Norbert Kniat
Yuja Wang was born in Beijing on February 10, 1987, and encouraged at a young age to make music by her dancer mother and percussionist father, starting the never-ending thirst for knowledge that has sustained her musical development. Yuja began piano lessons at the age of six and her progress was accelerated by studies at Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music. In 1999 she moved to Canada to participate in the Morningside Music summer programme at Calgary's Mount Royal College and thereafter enrolled as the youngest ever student at Mount Royal Conservatory. Wang's exceptional gifts were widely recognised in 2001 with her appointment as a Steinway Artist, and again the following year when she was offered a place at Philadelphia's prestigious Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Gary Graffman.

By the time Yuja graduated from the Curtis Institute in May 2008, she had already gathered momentum following the spectacular success of her debut three years earlier with the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa. Wang attracted widespread international attention in March 2007 when she replaced Martha Argerich on short notice in performances of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.1 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and within the span of just a few seasons she was working with conductors of the highest calibre. Over the past ten years of her career, she has worked with such pre-eminent Maestros as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Valery Gergiev, Michael Tilson Thomas, Antonio Pappano, Charles Dutoit, and Zubin Mehta.

In January 2009 Yuja Wang became an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon recording artist. Her debut album, Sonatas & Etudes, prompted Gramophone to name her as its 2009 Young Artist of the Year. Her 2011 release of Rachmaninov's Second Concerto and Paganini Rhapsody with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Claudio Abbado was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo category. Subsequent releases for the yellow label include Fantasia, an album of encore pieces by Albéniz, Bach, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Saint-Saëns, Scriabin, and others; a live recording of Prokofiev's Concertos Nos. 2 and 3 with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, and an acclaimed coupling of Ravel's two piano concertos with Fauré's Ballade, recorded with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and Lionel Bringuier. Reviewers around the world have documented the full range of Wang's work, capturing the essence of her musicianship and observing the development of an artist blessed with consummate technical prowess, an inexhaustible creative imagination, and an unmatched stamina.

She was recently described by the New York Times as "one of the best young pianists around" and hailed by the Sydney Morning Herald for her "blistering technique". In July 2015 the Los Angeles Times declared: "Hers is a nonchalant, brilliant keyboard virtuosity that would have made both Prokofiev (who was a great pianist) and even the fabled Horowitz jealous". The combination of critical acclaim, audience ovations, return engagements at leading international venues, and an exclusive recording relationship with Deutsche Grammophon confirm the 29-year old pianist's status as one of this century's most compelling artists.

The international reach and artistic breadth of Yuja Wang's 2016-2017 schedule reflects the strong demand for her work. She unveils her new season in the summer of 2016 with a run of recitals, chamber concerts and concerto performances at the Salzburg, Wolftrap, Tanglewood, Verbier and Baltic Sea festivals including collaborations with Matthias Goerne, Leonidas Kavakos, Lionel Bringuier, Gustavo Gimeno and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Following her initial NCPA residency concerts, Wang embarks on an extensive recital tour of China and Japan in September before traveling to the United States to open the Philadelphia Orchestra's season with three performances of Chopin's Piano Concerto No.2 in partnership with Yannick-Nézet-Séguin.

Yuja's way of making music connects with a strikingly broad audience. It appeals to everyone, from newcomers to the concert hall to devoted pianophiles, and has attracted an exceptionally youthful following. Her love for fashion, recently recognised by her induction into Giorgio Armani's Sì Women's Circle, has also contributed to the popular appeal of an artist who is armed with the ability to challenge convention and win fresh converts to classical music. She is set to broaden her audience throughout the 2016-2017 season, not least through her term as Artist-in-Residence at China's National Centre for the Performing Arts as well as the Konserthuset in Stockholm. The Beijing-born pianist returns to her home city in August for the first of six specially curated concerts at the NCPA, where she will explore programmes of Romantic and 20th-century repertoire in solo, chamber, and orchestral concerts. Her time in Stockholm will be filled by chamber music with Leonidas Kavakos, Bartok with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Maestro Sakari Oramo as well as a recital programme.

Other bold highlights of Yuja Wang's 2016-2017 season include a nine-concert Asian tour with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas; performances of Ravel's Piano Concerto in G with the London Symphony Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda at New York's Lincoln Center and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and an extensive spring tour of Europe with the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Antonio Pappano. In December she joins forces with percussionist Martin Grubinger for concerts in Vienna, Munich, Zurich, and Tel Aviv, and marks the new year with extensive recital tours of Europe and the United States with violinist Leonidas Kavakos. Wang will also undertake a major solo European recital tour in March and April, complete with concerts in Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Vienna and London, and many other cities.

Over the next season's course, Yuja will explore everything from chamber works by Beethoven and Brahms to concertos by Chopin and Shostakovich. Her profound affinity for Bartók falls under the spotlight when she explores each of the composer's three piano concertos, with performances of individual works in Beijing, Cleveland, Dallas, Guangzhou, Stockholm, Taiwan and Toronto, and of the complete set with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel over two consecutive weeks in May and June.


Photo by Katja Tähjä
Esa-Pekka Salonen (b. 1958, Helsinki) has a restless innovation that marks him as one of the most important artists in classical music. Salonen is the Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra and Conductor Laureate for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he was Music Director from 1992 until 2009. This season will find him as the Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic, a three-year position. He is Artistic Director and cofounder of the annual Baltic Sea Festival, which invites celebrated artists to promote unity and ecological awareness among the countries around the Baltic Sea.

Salonen takes the Philharmonia Orchestra to the Edinburgh International Festival, the BBC Proms, on tour in Switzerland and France, and will lead the Myths and Rituals festival, an exploration of Stravinsky's work that continues into next season. He will make guest appearances with the North German and Bavarian radio symphony orchestras; the New York, Vienna, and Los Angeles philharmonics; the Orchestre de Paris; the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the joint forces of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, united for the first time, in addition to conducting Strauss's Elektra at the Metropolitan Opera and Bartók's Le Château de Barbe-Bleue and Poulenc's La Voix Humaine at the Paris Opera.

Salonen's work combines intricacy and technical virtuosity with playful rhythmic and melodic innovations. His pieces for symphony orchestra include LA Variations (1996), Foreign Bodies (2001), Insomnia (2002), Wing on Wing (2004), and Nyx (2011), as well as two concertos: for pianist Yefim Bronfman and for violinist Leila Josefowicz. The latter was awarded the prestigious Grawemeyer Award and was featured in a 2014 international Apple ad campaign for iPad. In 2014 the Tonhalle Zurich Orchestra, where he was the first-ever Creative Chair, premiered Karawane for orchestra and chorus, to great acclaim. Karawane will be performed this season by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the New York Philharmonic.

Salonen and the Philharmonia have curated landmark multi-disciplinary projects, such as the award-winning RE-RITE and Universe of Sound installations, which allow the public to conduct, play, and step inside the Philharmonia with Salonen through audio and video projections. Salonen also drove the development of an app for iPad, The Orchestra, which allows the user unprecedented access to the internal workings of eight symphonic works.


Ο Έσα-Πέκκα Σάλονεν (γενν. 1958, Ελσίνκι) σπούδασε κόρνο, σύνθεση και διεύθυνση ορχήστρας στην Ακαδημία Σιμπέλιους της γενέτειράς του κι έκανε το ντεμπούτο του ως αρχιμουσικός με τη Συμφωνική Ορχήστρα της Φινλανδικής Ραδιοφωνίας το 1979. Το 1985, ανέλαβε τη θέση του βασικού αρχιμουσικού της Συμφωνικής Ορχήστρας της Σουηδικής Ραδιοφωνίας όπου παρέμεινε για μια δεκαετία, ενώ την ίδια χρονιά ανέλαβε τη θέση του βασικού προσκεκλημένου μαέστρου της Φιλαρμόνια, την οποία διατήρησε ως το 1994. Υπήρξε διευθυντής του Φεστιβάλ του Ελσίνκι (1995-1996) και μουσικός διευθυντής της Φιλαρμονικής Ορχήστρας του Λος Αντζελες από το 1992. Την καλλιτεχνική περίοδο 2008-2009, ανανέωσε τη συνεργασία του με τη Φιλαρμόνια του Λονδίνου, αναλαμβάνοντας τη θέση του μόνιμου μαέστρου και καλλιτεχνικού συμβούλου της Ορχήστρας.

Έχει τιμηθεί με πολλά σημαντικά βραβεία διεθνώς και έχει να επιδείξει πλούσια δισκογραφική δραστηριότητα, ενώ είναι γνωστός, μεταξύ άλλων, για τις ερμηνείες έργων σύγχρονης μουσικής, πολλά από αυτά σε παγκόσμια πρεμιέρα. Παράλληλα, είναι καλλιτεχνικός διευθυντής του Φεστιβάλ Βαλτικής Θάλασσας, του οποίου υπήρξε συνιδρυτής (2003). Πρόκειται για την ετήσια διοργάνωση που διεξάγεται κάθε Αύγουστο στη Στοκχόλμη και στην ευρύτερη περιοχή της Βαλτικής, φιλοξενώντας διάσημες ορχήστρες, αρχιμουσικούς και σολίστες, με στόχο την προώθηση των δεσμών φιλίας και αφύπνισης της οικολογικής συνείδησης των χωρών αυτών.

Παράλληλα με την καριέρα του ως αρχιμουσικός, ο Έσα-Πέκκα Σάλονεν έχει αναπτύξει αξιόλογη δραστηριότητα ως συνθέτης – πέρα από τις σχετικές σπουδές του στο Ελσίνκι, αργότερα συνέχισε στην Ιταλία – και κάθε νέο έργο του αναμένεται με ιδιαίτερο ενδιαφέρον από την παγκόσμια μουσική κοινότητα.


More photos

See also

Gautier Capuçon and Yuja Wang play Ludwig van Beethoven: Seven variations for Cello and Piano in E flat major on Mozart's "Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen" – Verbier Festival 2013

Gautier Capuçon and Yuja Wang play Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Rachmaninov and Astor Piazzolla – Verbier Festival 2013 (HD 1080p)

Frédéric Chopin: 24 Préludes, Op.28 – Yuja Wang (HD 1080p)

Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor | Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor – Yuja Wang, Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Gustavo Dudamel (Audio video & Download 96kHz/24bit)

George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue – Yuja Wang, Camerata Salzburg, Lionel Bringuier

George Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F major | Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.5 in D minor – Yuja Wang, London Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas

Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor – Yuja Wang, Verbier Festival Orchestra, Yuri Termikanov (HD 1080p)

Yuja Wang and the Art of Performance

Maurice Ravel: Piano Concertos – Yuja Wang, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Lionel Bringuier (Audio video)

Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor – Yuja Wang, Berliner Philharmoniker, Paavo Järvi

Yuja Wang plays Robert Schumann, Maurice Ravel and Ludwig van Beethoven at Verbier Festival 2016

Yuja Wang, the pianist who will not go quietly

Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.3 in C major – Yuja Wang, Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

Leonidas Kavakos, violin & Yuja Wang, piano

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