Estonian National Symphony Orchestra & Olari Elts. © Krõõt Tarkmeel.

May 7, 2021 at 7 pm — Estonia Concert Hall

4th concert of the MAESTRO series

Johann Sebastian Bach
Fuga (2nd Ricercata) a 6 voci from Musical Offering (Das Musikalische Opfer; arr. by Anton Webern)     ~7’

Arvo Pärt
Collage über B-A-C-H     ~8’
I: Toccata – II: Sarabande – III: Ricercare

Anton Webern
Concerto for Nine Instruments    ~6’
I: Etwas lebhaft – II: Sehr langsam – III: Sehr rasch

Arvo Pärt
Pro et contra for cello and symphony orchestra     ~9’
I: Maestoso – II: Largo – III: Allegro

Henry Purcell
Dido’s Lament from Dido & Aeneas (arr. by Leopold Stokowski)     ~5’

Arvo Pärt
Lamentate     ~35’

Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor OLARI ELTS

This exciting and intriguing programme focuses on the work of two great composers – the living legend Arvo Pärt and Anton Webern, who lived in Austria in the first half of the twentieth century. According to Olari Elts, these two composers are complementary opposites of each other – antipodes with more in common than we can imagine. Elts lists a few: ‘For example, an interest in Bach and the music that came before him, minimal source material, seeing value in each sound, attention to detail, the quality of the timbre, the rigorous system underlying the composition methodology, non-conformance with preceding tradition, etc.’ He adds that while Webern was one of the most important influencers of the music created in the decades after World War II, it is impossible to overstate Pärt’s influence on the last few decades.

In the first half of the concert, the audience will hear Pärt’s early works Collage sur B-A-C-H and Pro et contra, as well as Webern’s later work Concerto for Nine Instruments. First two works provide an overview of both composers’ interpretation of the music of J. S. Bach. In the second half of the concert two laments will be performed: Purcell’s Dido’s Lament from Dido & Aeneas, and Pärt’s nearly 40-minute Lamentate for piano and symphony orchestra.

For Arvo Pärt, his collage works – Collage über B-A-C-H (1964), cello concerto Pro et contra (1966), Symphony No. 2 (1966) and Credo (1968) – are a bridge between his early and later works. Arvo Pärt: “One can see collages as a mixture of positive and negative, true and false. These are a sort of transplantation: if you have the feeling that you don’t have a skin of your own, you try to take strips of skin from all around you and apply them to yourself. In time these strips change, and turn into a new skin.” (Enzo Restagno, Arvo Pärt in Conversation, 2012, p. 17). “It could be that tintinnabuli only emerged in me thanks to these collages,” the composer has said.

Pro et contra was composed at the initiative of the Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and is also dedicated to him, although the work was premiered on 3 November 1967 at the Estonia Concert Hall by Toomas Velmet with the Symphony Orchestra of the Estonian Radio and Television (presently the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra) conducted by Neeme Järvi. Estonian audiences heard Rostropovich’s performance a few months later, in February 1968.

However, one more connection is important in the context of this concert. Namely, 20 years ago – on 9 August 2001 – Mstislav Rostropovich and Olari Elts, the new chief conductor of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, met at the final concert of the Rostropovich Cello Festival in Riga. Toomas Velmet, who was present at the concert, described the event in the Estonian cultural newspaper Sirp as follows: ‘The future biographers of Olari Elts should remember the date 9 August 2001. The final concert of the festival, the first concert of Elts as the chief conductor of LNSO ended. The standing ovation of the audience of several thousand listeners would not end – on the stage, the thrilled Olari Elts and Mstislav Rostropovich, arms around each other, kept bowing.’ (Sirp, 17 August 2001)

Anton Webern’s Concerto for Nine Instruments was completed in 1934 and is dedicated to celebrate the sixtieth birthday of Arnold Schoenberg. The work is representative of Webern’s later creative style, which followed the supreme principle set by the composer: the comprehensibility of the presentation of a musical idea.

To find out more information about Arvo Pärt and his works please visit the website of Arvo Pärt Centre.

The organizer reserves the right to make changes to the event program.

As the government decided to cancel all indoor public events, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ERSO) will perform in an empty hall this month: all concerts will take place and the audience will have the opportunity to enjoy the concert experience on ERSO TV and Klassikaraadio.

All tickets for performances can be exchanged for an ERSO TV access code, which is valid for two months, or an ERSO gift card, which is valid for 12 months and can be used to purchase a ticket for future concerts. Naturally, the tickets are also refundable.