Fresh off last week’s concert featuring Igor Stravinsky’s “Pulcinella Suite” and the Brahms Symphony No. 2, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) prepares for three consecutive nights under the baton of Eri Klas featuring music from Scandinavia.
Klas, a native of Estonia, made his U. S. debut in 1991 and has been a guest conductor at major orchestras such as those in Cleveland, Boston, St. Louis, Detroit, Cincinnati and San Francisco. He also has conducted the National Orchestra and the Vancouver Symphony, while still maintaining a busy schedule throughout Europe.
In a tribute to his homeland, Klas will conduct the Veljo Tormis Overture No. 2 to begin each performance. Tormis is one of the most noted composers from Estonia and composed much of his life while under the influence of the former Soviet Union. The dark, brooding passages are unusual for the composer, whose repertoire has consisted mostly of choral works based on simple Estonian folk melodies.
Andrey Ponochevny, the silver medalist at the 2010 New Orleans International Piano Competition and the 2002 bronze medalist at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition is set to be the featured soloist for the Edvard Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor.
Revised five times during the composer’s life, the concerto owes much influence to Robert Schumann’s earlier concerto composed in the same key. Its middle passages reflect the influence of Franz Liszt, while the final movement is Grieg’s homage to his Norwegian homeland with references to native dances fond there.
The second half of the concert will feature the Sibelius Symphony No. 1, a piece noted for its lushness. Sibelius admitted he was fond of Russian orchestral music, especially that of Tchaikovsky, whose Symphony No. 6 (“Pathetique”) was, perhaps, his favorite.
Both New Orleans concerts tonight and Saturday night will take place at the First Baptist Church, 5290 Canal Boulevard. Tonight’s performance time is at 7:30 p.m., while the Saturday performance starts at 8:00 p.m. The Northshore concert will be held at the First Baptist Church, 16333 Louisiana Highway 1085 in Covington at 7:30 p.m.