Brahms and Tchaikovsky – Iceland Symphony
Johannes Brahms: Piano
Concerto no. 2
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony no. 6, “Pathétique”
Han-Na Chang, conductor
Stephen Hough, soloist
This concert features two magnificent works from the late 19th century. Brahms’ Piano Concerto no. 2 is one of his largest and most demanding pieces. But it is perhaps best known for its astoundingly beautiful slow movement, in which a solo cellist and the pianist play a lyrical duet.
Symphony no. 6 was the last work written by Tchaikovsky, who died a mere nine days after its premiere. Many view the piece as a last farewell, an expression of the anguish and torment the composer suffered during the final months of his life. During rehearsals, he is reported to have said: “I can honestly say that never in my life have I been so pleased with myself, so proud, or felt so fortunate to have created something as good as this.”
Stephen Hough is one of the most respected and versatile pianists of our time. The first classical music performer to win the coveted MacArthur Fellowship, he has released over 50 CDs, won eight Gramophone awards, and been nominated several times for Grammy awards. This is his third performance in Iceland. After his first, the critic from Morgunblaðið called him “an exceptional pianist with an amazing touch: enormously powerful but yet marvellously gentle”.
South Korea’s Han-Na Chang began her career as a cellist, studying with Rostropovich and appearing as a soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras. In recent years she has turned to conducting, with splendid results. She has been Chief Conductor of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra since 2017.