Opening of the Season
Sergey Rachmaninoff is a composer of bright original gift, a pianist of genius who had no equal among contemporaries, outstanding conductor – “tripersonal divine being”. Popularity of Rachmaninoff within lifetime was enormous. One of the most significant compositions by Rachmaninoff is his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. 24 variations on well-known theme of Caprices by Paganini can be called his Fifth Piano Concerto. The premiere took place at the Lyric Opera House in Baltimore, on November 7, 1934. The author played the piano part accompanied by Philadelphia Orchestra led by Leopold Stokovsky. In this concert rising star of piano Olympus of the XXI century Bulgarian pianist Evgeny Bozhanov will perform the Rhapsody. Evgeny Bozhanov is a Prize-winner of the Svyatoslav Richter International Competition in Moscow, the Queen Elizabeth International Competition in Brussels, the Van Cliburn in Fort Worth, the XVI Frederic Chopin International Competition in Warsaw.
Creative life of Igor Stravinsky is real history of music of the XX century. It reflects as a mirror all processes of modern art development. Three ballets open the first – “Russian” – period of creative work. It is called so because of composer’s music thinking peculiarities at that time. As is known, Diagilev suggested that Stravinsky should create a ballet for “Russian Seasons” in Paris. During 3 years of collaboration with Diagilev’s company Stravinsky wrote three ballets which made him world known – The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911), and The Rite of Spring (1913). Stravinsky turned to Russian folklore which different strata were originally interpreted in the music of each ballet. The Firebird amazes by sophisticated fecundity of orchestra colours, vivid contrasts between poetic round dance lyrics and fiery dances. “Stravinsky is truly Russian composer… Russian spirit is ineradicable in the heart of this genuine, great, multifaceted talent, born by Russian land/soil and related by blood with it…” (D. Shostakovich)
Ravel wrote about choreographic poem in his autobiography: “It’s a waltz, somehow a tribute to great Johann Strauss. I planned to make this composition as apotheosis of Vienna waltz which makes fantastic and fatal impression. I placed this waltz into surroundings of emperor’s palace in approximately in 1855”.
Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun was written by Debussy on the basis of eclogue of the same name by Stephane Mallarme. Mallarme’s work attracted Debussy first of all by vivid picturesqueness of mythological creature dreaming of beautiful nymphs. There’s neither dramatic conflict nor struggle, neither plot nor dynamic further development – only world of nature with its diversity of colours and images. In 1912 Vaslav Nijinsky staged the Faun as choreographic scene. After the first performance of the Afternoon of a Faun Debussy received a letter from Mallarme: “Your illustration of the Faun is not discordant with my text, on the contrary, it goes beyond the text with its nostalgia, amazing keenness, dreaminess, and richness”.