For the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frédéric Chopin, the renowned Ruhr Piano Festival in Essen invited the Staatskapelle Berlin to give a truly special program: the rare combination of Chopin's two piano concertos in one concert. For this purpose Daniel Barenboim, the orchestra's principal conductor, handed over the reins of "his" ensemble to up-and-coming young conductor Andris Nelsons, assuming the role of piano soloist instead.
The press raved: "Storms of applause for a dream couple: Daniel Barenboim and Andris Nelsons won over the audience […] with their rousing Chopin interpretations". While Barenboim fills the solo parts with pulsating life and dance-like grace, the exciting young talent Andris Nelsons dazzles with his magnetic physical presence and the broad gestures with which he fires on or pulls back his enthusiastic musicians. Nelsons opens the concert with a rousing account of Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 44, the “Mourning” Symphony.
Chopin wrote the two piano concertos when he was only 19 and 20; they were among the last works that he composed in Poland before leaving for France. Filled with youthful fire and freshness, the works showcase the pianist's virtuosity, and contain much of interest for the orchestral musicians as well, including poignant solo interludes for clarinet and bassoon.
Symphony in E minor, Hob. I:44 “Mourning”
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11
Valse brillante in A minor, Op. 34/2