Lewis and Canellakis: Battle with the elements


  • Thomas Larcher Third symphony 'A line above the sky' (world premiere)
  • Johannes Brahms First piano concerto

Principal conductor Karina Canellakis goes high into the mountains with Thomas Larcher. And pianist Paul Lewis and she climb the peaks of Brahms' masterful First Piano Concerto.

Brahms' early masterpiece
Johannes Brahms never attended a conservatoire - neither as a pupil nor as a teacher. We do not know how he worked as a composer, he destroyed his sketches. This makes it seem as if, in his First Piano Concerto, he reached the pinnacle of his powers out of nowhere. Nothing could be further from the truth. He worked on it for five years, from the age of twenty to twenty-five. The premiere was a deep disappointment. He wrote to a friend: "Three people clapped and the rest made hissing noises. I don't mind, but you can't do that to your wife, can you? So he broke off his engagement.

Battle with the elements
Opposite Brahms' battle with the notes, Thomas Larcher's work is a confrontation with nature. Larcher lives in the Austrian Alps and dedicated his Third Symphony to Tom Ballard, a famous mountaineer who died in an accident in 2019. One of his legendary climbs he called 'A line above the sky'. It inspired Larcher to create a two-part work: the battle with the elements is followed by a Trauermusik.

Larcher wrote his Third Symphony for NTR Saturday Matinee and Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg, Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester, Filharmonie Brno, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Orquesta Sinfónica y León. Dutch premiere.

Saturday 25 September 2021
The Royal Concertgebouw

Large Hall


Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
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Karina Canellakis, chief conductor RFO
Karina Canellakis
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Paul Lewis - photo Kaupo Kikkas
Paul Lewis

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