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Pictures at an Exhibition with Mälkki

Sun / Apr 25, 2021 - 2:00PM

The LA Phil’s brilliant Principal Guest Conductor leads Mussorgsky’s classic Pictures.


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About this Performance

“Dented nature” is how German composer Enno Poppe describes his work. Often starting with a single idea that grows from “small sprouts,” Poppe’s music grows and expands like the branching limbs of a plant. In Fett, panels of sound are juxtaposed and overlaid at a measured pace. Microtones – frequencies between notes on a piano – cause traditional chords to come into and out of focus. The piece builds slowly, with increasingly loud climaxes, often followed by quietness; the primary emphasis is on color and texture. As one of our day’s leading interpreters of contemporary music, Susanna Mälkki will reveal every detail and shape every phrase. 

Jean Sibelius aspired to be a great violinist but found his true calling as composer and national hero to his native Finland. His Violin Concerto, the only concerto he ever wrote, shows his deep love of the instrument and features some of the most memorable and gorgeous melodies Sibelius ever composed. Written in 1904, Sibelius revised it heavily just one year later. The original, which was even more demanding of the soloist, was largely forgotten until 1991 when the Sibelius estate allowed it to be performed and recorded again. Award-winning violinist Isabelle Faust will bring her “passion, grit and electricity” (The New York Times) to Sibelius’ original, virtuosic edition. 

Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition conjures imagery from a clumsy gnome to Roman catacombs to the thrilling climax at the Great Gate at Kiev. Each vignette was inspired by the artworks of Mussorgsky’s friend artist-architect Victor Hartmann who died suddenly at 39. Mussorgsky composed a piano suite in honor of his friend, inspired by ten of Hartmann’s drawings and watercolors – most of which are now lost. This suite may now be Mussorgsky’s most widely known and performed piece through its orchestral adaptations, particularly the version by Maurice Ravel who manages to capture the characters and settings of Mussorgsky’s work just so. 

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