This concert by the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundunks has an entirely Scandinavian theme. Under the aegis of Finnish-born Esa-Pekka Salonen the orchestra begins the recital with “Eleven Gates”, a work of sound-painting by the contemporary Swedish composer Anders Hillborg. It proves to be a journey through the territory of everyday sounds with singing wine glasses, taxi horns and the screeching of seagulls, and it goes straight to the listener’s ear: “more pop than avantgarde,” as the Abendzeitung München writes enthusiastically.
Alice Sara Ott, of German-Japanese origin, provides the focal point of the evening, giving her debut with the orchestra in the Piano Concerto in A minor by the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. “This is the pianist’s showpiece,” as the Abendzeitung München writes with admiration: “very powerful, with a natural tempo and performed without any extravagant gestures.”
The orchestra rises to the challenge with the impressive final work, the great Fifth Symphony by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, a performance marking his 150th birthday. “The way Salonen achieved the refined, initially unnoticeable acceleration of pace in the Sibelius and brought it towards something of a final explosion is an experience that no one who was present will ever forget.” (Süddeutsche Zeitung)
Anders Hillborg - “Eleven Gates”
Edvard Grieg - Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
Jean Sibelius - Symphony No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 82