Event info

Ravel and Sibelius – Iceland Symphony
- The Season Opener

Georges Bizet: L’Arlésienne, suite
Maurice Ravel: Piano Concerto for the Left Hand
Anna Þorvaldsdóttir: Aeriality
Jean Sibelius: Symphony no. 1

Yan Pascal Tortelier, conductor
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, soloist

At this concert, the Iceland Symphony pairs a stunning selection of French and Nordic works. The Orchestra will then revisit the programme in February 2020, when it embarks on a tour of Great Britain. At the podium is Yan Pascal Tortelier, Chief Conductor of the Iceland Symphony from 2016 through 2019, who has conducted a number of memorable concerts in Eldborg hall.

French piano virtuoso Jean-Efflam Bavouzet captivated the audience when he performed at the Reykjavík Arts Festival in 2016, playing Ravel’s Piano Concerto with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. According to the critic from Fréttablaðið, he “left us breathless as he somersaulted up and down the keyboard”, and the audience was transfixed. Now he returns with Ravel’s other piano concerto, written for German pianist Paul Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein had lost his right arm in World War I but continued concertising with undimmed enthusiasm, commissioning a number of compositions from his contemporaries.

Sibelius’ Symphony no. 1 is a magnificent work in the Romantic spirit, written under strong influence from Tchaikovsky. No less captivating is the music written by Georges Bizet to accompany Daudet’s play L’Arlésienne, premiered in Paris in 1872, three years before the opera Carmen. The play was not a success, however, and closed after a handful of performances. Bizet responded by collecting the best musical numbers and creating suites of incidental music that became highly popular and made the composer a household name all over Paris.