A world premiere for Jan-Peter de Graaff (after all)
Grand opening concert
The AVROTROS Vrijdagconcert traditionally opens with a big bang, featuring the Groot Omroepkoor and the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. On 17 September 2021, a typical 'Vrijdag' concert will also be performed: a world premiere by the young composer Jan-Peter de Graaff, who was born on Terschelling, combined with two rarely heard works by Jean Sibelius and César Franck.
A world premiere for Jan-Peter de Graaff after all
Event Horizon by Jan-Peter de Graaff is central. We were to open the previous season with this composition and celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Groot Omroepkoor in grand style. However, something happened to De Graaff that you wouldn't wish on anyone. A virus made its appearance. Suddenly not all the musicians could fit on stage. The composer did not throw in the towel and wrote a much smaller, alternative work, Les cymbales sonores. Reviewer Bas van Putten wrote about it lyrically in the Groene Amsterdammer. He called it a "miniature monument like a bonsai tree with the majesty of an old oak, full of gestures that aphoristically point to the vast space of a larger piece in which this music would dissolve like a bouillon cube." Regular guest conductor James Gaffigan now conducts the world premiere of the original festive work.
Man and his environment
The human relationship to nature and a clear structure are important themes in De Graaff's steadily growing oeuvre. The orchestral work The Oceanids, in which Jean Sibelius evokes an image of the Greek mythological nymphs of the Mediterranean, is therefore a perfect match. And finally: Rédemption by César Franck. The Liège-born composer had just become a naturalised Frenchman when he started work on this oratorio in 1871. The horrors of the War of 1870-1871 and the Paris Commune were still fresh in his mind, and Franck reflects on human misery, sinfulness and error, but also shows how things can be put right again through heavenly intervention. The work is beautifully orchestrated, some of the harmonies are almost Wagnerian and the melodies wonderfully romantic. His French audience still felt uncomfortable with it. Conductors such as the then principal of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Jean Fournet, had already been championing the work since the 1950s. But strangely enough, the music only experienced its true breakthrough some 25 years ago.
FRIDAY 17 SEPTEMBER 2021
Opening concert: Sibelius, De Graaff and Franck
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
James Gaffigan conductor
Julie Boulianne soprano
Sébastian Dutrieux narrator
SIBELIUS The Oceanids
DE GRAAFF Event-Horizon (WP)
Order your tickets here.