Sir Antonio Pappano, Lisa Batiashvili and Veronika Eberle
13-24 May 2018
The COE is delighted to welcome back the inspirational conductor Sir Antonio Pappano for a seven-stop concert tour from 13 to 24 May 2018 of Italy, France and Switzerland featuring Ligeti’s Concert Românesc and Brahms’ Violin Concerto and Serenade No. 1.
This will be our second project with Sir Antonio Pappano, with whom we worked for the first time in March 2016. On that occasion we had the pleasure of touring together in Italy, France and Belgium in performances of works by Bizet, Fauré and Mozart, as well as Richard Strauss’s Oboe Concerto featuring former principal oboe of the COE, François Leleux as soloist.
The tour programme this May opens with Ligeti’s Concert Românesc. Consisting of four movements for string orchestra and woodwind solos and full of references to Romanian folk music, it was only performed for the first time twenty years after its completion in 1951 due to the fact that several dissonant passages like the F sharp and B major sections of the last movement were considered too modernist. The COE performed the work, which is very virtuosic and a short “concerto for orchestra” last in 2010 under the baton of Sakari Oramo.
Brahms’ Serenade No. 1 reminds us of our concerts and close association with Claudio Abbado as it is a composition that he loved and performed regularly with the COE. After many years we are now thrilled to be able to perform it under the direction of Sir Antonio Pappano. Originally written for an ensemble of nine instrumentalists, Brahms rewrote the Serenade on the request of his friend, the Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim, to become his very first orchestral work to appear in print. The six-movement piece is well known for the prominent horn part in the penultimate movement.
We have performed with violin soloist Lisa Batiashvili almost every year since our first project at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon back in 2008 and have formed a very close association and friendship.
She said of us: “This is the orchestra I have the biggest admiration for. Each member is a unique musician and it feels like they all share wisdom, knowledge, good taste and a great instinct for music. I find it remarkable that in certain symphonies, which can often sound very heavy and grounded, COE, with its round and warm tone, brings its special, natural genius for music making to every work – this is so rare to find.”
During the 2016/17 season the Orchestra worked closely with Lisa in order to produce and record both of Prokofiev’s violin concertos which have recently been released by Deutsche Grammophon.
We have been hoping to perform the Brahms concerto with Lisa for some time, and to be able to realize this ambition with maestro Pappano is the perfect occasion. Originally she was to join us as soloist for all concerts on this tour, but has recently been forced to withdraw from concerts to Treviso, Ferrara, Turin and Pavia. We are very fortunate that she will remain as soloist for concerts in Bordeaux, Paris and Zurich and are looking forward very much to experiencing her interpretation of this powerful and important work.
For the Italian leg of the tour, we have the great pleasure of welcoming German violinist Veronika Eberle, who is anticipating her debut with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe originally scheduled for June.
Sir Simon Rattle’s introduction of Veronika aged just 16 to a packed Salzburg Festpielhaus at the 2006 Salzburg Easter Festival with the Berliner Philharmoniker brought her to international attention, and her career has continued to flourish over the last 13 years. We are delighted that she is able to join us for this project and particularly for us to meet for the first time with performances of the Brahms concerto.
Not only did Lisa’s international career also start at the age of 16 when she appeared as the youngest-ever competitor in the Sibelius Competition, but Lisa and Veronika have both been influenced and inspired by the same violin teacher, the legendary pedagogue Ana Chumachenco.
We will be working with Lisa and Veronika again in June, this time under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Over the years, the COE has performed Brahms’ Violin Concerto with various famous duos including Thomas Zehetmair & Frans Brüggen, Janine Jansen & Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Leonidas Kavakos & Bernard Haitink, Victoria Mullova & Susanna Mälkki, Joshua Bell & Emmanuel Krivine.