From Paris to Euphoria. Sinfonietta Rīga season opening

On Friday, September 22, chamber orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga will open its 12th season at the Great Guild Hall. Conductor Normunds Šnē will lead the performance of one of the most magnificent examples of the concerto genre in the history of music – Felix Mendelssohn's vibrant Violin Concerto; and, together with our everlasting favourite, Austrian genius Joseph Haydn, we will bring the enchanted audience to the city of eternal love, with his Paris Symphony. Finally, a special gift for the Sinfonietta Rīga season opening from the brilliant Latvian composer Andris Dzenītis in the form of his latest composition "Euphoria".


Usually, Sinfonietta Rīga season opening and closing concerts serve as a demonstration of our musical tastes and professional capabilities. The beginning of the orchestra's 12th season is not an exception, as we follow the tradition established by our artistic director Normunds Šnē and invite the listeners on an exciting and varied musical journey from the Baroque to our days.

In the Great Guild Hall we will perform one of the most magnificent masterpieces in the history of music – the vibrant, lyrical Violin Concerto in E minor by Felix Mendelssohn, one of the adepts of early German Romanticism. The star of this performance will be the brilliant violinist Vadim Gluzman. Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto was unanimously loved by the public and the professional critics alike already at its premiere in Leipzig in 1845, and by the end of the 19th century had joined the golden classics of orchestra repertoire. At that time, the famous German violinist Joseph Joachim remarked that Germans have only four violin concertos: Beethoven's, Brahms's, Bruch's and Mendelssohn's, ant the latter is the most personal and heartfelt, beautifully characterized by the musician as “the jewel of the heart”. Victorious over times and styles, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto is still a popular staple of the orchestra repertoires around the world, serving as the personal challenge and measure of professional capabilities for many violinists.

Sinfonietta Rīga opening concert would not be the same without a touch of the gallant Austrian genius Joseph Haydn. This time, we will present one of his Paris Symphonies. The six works, including the Symphony No. 86 in D major, were written between 1785 and 1786 on commission from the musical director of the Concert de la Loge Olympique orchestra, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, and Comte d'Ogny. The orchestra of the Masonic Loge was a trendsetter of the European musical fashion of the times; Haydn's symphonies were performed at the Palais Royal concert hall and, not surprisingly, patronized by the most exquisite audiences, including the last French queen Marie Antoinette.

As a bow to the Saxon master Johann Sebastian Bach, whose cult was reignited by Mendelssohn, Sinfonietta Rīga will perform his Concerto for Two Violins in D minor. This time, on the stage of the Great Guild Hall, Vadim Gluzman will be joined by another student of the distinguished professor Romāns Šnē – Anna Smilga – accomplishing his dream of creative collaboration with another student of Romāns Šnē from a different generation.

The offering on the steps of the Latvian music temple this time comes from the always     captivating Andris Dzenītis – his new opus for chamber orchestra, "Euphoria", is dedicated to composer Pēteris Plakidis. Here is how Dzenītis himself describes this work on the Latvian Radio channel “Klasika”:

“This piece is energetic and passionate, and this kind of music drives forward, especially when I don't have to dive into conceptual depths and contemplate serious content as it often has been with my other works. It makes the working process that much quicker. But I wouldn't want to imply that a quicker pace of work means that the work is somehow sketchy or crude – no, that is absolutely not the case! It just means that this is a work that really bursts out of me.”

Vadim Gluzman is one of the many students of the distinguished violin professor Romāns Šnē. He was born in Ukraine, but spent his childhood in Riga, and in 1990 moved to Israel. Gluzman started to study violin at the age of 7, and today he plays on the most prominent concert halls around the world together with the greatest orchestras. His sensual performance is undoubtedly inspired by his legendary 1690 Stradivarius, dubbed “ex-Leopold-Auer” after its previous owner, acclaimed Hungarian violinist, conductor and composer Leopold Auer.

W. A. Mozart - Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter"
F. Mendellsohn - Symphony No. 3
Linda Leimane - Guesstimations
R. Strauss - Oboe Concerto
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