Bach / Sibelius / Mozart / Haendel
The capital of Hungary, Budapest, has an atmosphere of sophistication and poise, which it carries proudly. With a rich musical heritage of its own, the city has welcomed Europe’s finest composers and virtuosos throughout the centuries. This season, a specially curated concert by the Duna String Orchestra reminds us of Budapest’s central place in classical music history. Bach / Sibelius / Mozart / Handel brings together generations of European masters and showcases a unique selection of their massive catalogues. Some of the pieces are famous, calling-card numbers, while others are less often performed and offer an exciting opportunity to discover more of a favourite composer’s output. The string orchestra, fronted by a soprano and a solo violin, promise a night of hits and surprises.
George Frideric Handel has the honour of opening the programme with his ‘Concerto Grosso in F-Major No. 9, HWV 327’. The characteristically stark opening orchestral chords slowly melt into a more fluid and inventive sequence that ranks among the composer’s most experimental endeavours. Segments from Antonio Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’ follow and lift up the atmosphere. The famous ‘Adagio in G-minor’ by Tomaso Albinoni comes next and brings a sombre note into the evening. Johann Sebastian Bach’s famed ‘Brandenburg Concerto No. 3’ takes the mood back to a positive, major mode. Then ‘Ave Maria’ by the talented Florentine composer and singer Giulio Caccini continues the uplifting contrast and lets the soprano shine. Excerpts from Handel’s ‘Water Music’, especially composed for King George I of Great Britain and his entourage on their cruise along the River Thames, truly gets the spirits high.
Taking a spiritual turn, the concert then concentrates on famous pieces of sacred music by a host of famous composers. You can expect ‘Agnus Dei’ by Georges Bizet, an excerpt from the ‘Requiem’ by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jean Sibelius’s ‘Impromptu’, the divine ‘Air on the G String’ by Johann Sebastian Bach, and finally Mozart’s ‘Alleluja’. In performance by the Duna String Orchestra, the soprano and the violin soloist in Budapest, each piece takes on a life of its own and makes the concert Bach / Sibelius / Mozart / Handel a memorable and attractive event.