IS

Stolen songs

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Date Location Price
6 Oct 2022 » 20:00 » Thursday Eldborg | Harpa 2.700 - 7.700 kr.
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  • Program

    Igor Stravinsky Selections from Pulcinella Suite
    Felix Mendelssohn Symphony no. 4, “Italian” – 4th movement
    Sergei Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

  • Conductor

    Daníel Bjarnason

  • Soloist

    Dmitry Shishkin

  • Host

    Halla Oddný Magnúsdóttir

“Good artists copy – great artists steal.” This quip, generally attributed to Pablo Picasso, seemingly applies no less to music than to visual art. Throughout history, numerous musical masterpieces have featured themes borrowed from others. This hour-long concert in the Green Series, under the baton of Daníel Bjarnason, features a lively assemblage of works based on such stolen songs. All of the pilfered tunes originate in Italy, a country that has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration to artists from all disciplines.

The ballet Pulcinella was Stravinsky's first work in neoclassical style. In it he uses a melody that he attributed to 18th-century Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (although the tune's provenance later proved somewhat more complicated than this). This performance includes four movements from the ballet, which tells the tale of the clownish Pulcinella and his comical amorous adventures.

“This is Italy! And now has begun what I have always thought … to be the supreme joy in life. And I am loving it.” Thus begins a letter written by twenty-one-year-old Felix Mendelssohn to his family while on his travels to Italy in 1830. On this programme we hear the final movement of his Symphony no. 4, called the Italian Symphony, in which the composer quotes dance music that he supposedly heard in a market square in Naples.

The final work on the programme is Rachmaninoff's glimmering concerto-like Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for piano and orchestra. The main theme is taken from Caprice no. 24 by  Italian violinist-composer Niccolò Paganini, who was rumoured to have sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his matchless musical talent. Rachmaninoff's work is extremely demanding for the soloist, the young Dmitry Shishkin, a rapidly rising star in the piano world whom world-renowned pianist Evgeny Kissin has praised for his “high professionalism combined with natural musical subtlety and artistry.”

The concert is an hour long, with no intermission, and is broadcast live on RÚV.