The COE and Yannick Nézet-Séguin
10-18 June 2018
Yannick Nézet-Séguin returns to the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for a concert tour of Spain, France and Germany featuring Smetana’s Overture to The Bartered Bride and Brahms’ Third Symphony. Violinists Lisa Batiashvili and Veronika Eberle join us at different parts of this tour.
Following the concert tour with Antonio Pappano in May, Lisa Batiashvili continues touring with the COE to perform Brahms’ Violin Concerto in Oviedo on 13 June and on 15 June in Toulouse.
Veronika Eberle has chosen to perform Dvořák’s Violin Concerto for her concerts with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe on 16 June in Dortmund and 17 June in Cologne. The melodic concerto is full of referrals to Slavic folklore, which pairs perfectly with the Overture to Smetana’s popular second opera The Bartered Bride.
Both Brahms’ and Dvořák’s violin concertos link back to the Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim, who at the time played an important role in the creation of many concertos that nowadays form the core repertoire of violinists. Joachim was a close friend of Brahms, who consulted with him before finalising his virtuosic violin concerto. It was one of the few concertos Joachim actually managed to premiere when it was performed on 1st of January 1879 in Leipzig, conducted by the composer himself. Antonin Dvořák turned to the then-director of the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin for advice as well, and despite dedicating his melodic violin concerto to Joachim, it was never performed by him.
The second half of the concert features Brahms’ Third Symphony, the shortest but most original of his symphonies. It is best-known for one of the finest romantic melodies in the third movement, presented by the cellos. The symphony’s opening F-A flat-F notes emerging from the woodwind form a central motif throughout the work. Brahms refers to that motto with a wink to his bachelor status in 1883: “Frei aber froh” – meaning ‘free but joyful’.
On this positive note, the COE is delighted to welcome back Yannick Nézet-Séguin. This is especially the case since this concert tour is his first return to the Orchestra after the major announcement that he will now be taking up the position of Music Director at New York’s Metropolitan Opera as of September 2018.
The Cologne concert with Veronika Eberle on 17 June was streamed live and is still available to watch on demand at philharmonie.tv
That concert was also reviewed by several local newspapers. The Kölnische Rundschau commented: “One couldn’t have wished for any more precision and beauty of sound, and what was most special about this concert, was the sheer joy of playing, which resonated with every single note.” – continuing by saying that this concert “enters the Philharmonie’s annals as a moment of glory”.
The Kölner Stadtanzeiger refers to Brahms’s 3rd Symphony as “the highlight of the evening”, hailing the “Chamber Orchestra of Europe and its outstanding soloists (horn, clarinet, oboe)”.
In February 2017, Lisa Batiashvili recorded her Prokofiev album with the COE and Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the Auditorium St. Pierre-des-Cuisines in Toulouse. The album is now receiving critical acclaim in the press.
We are grateful that Lisa has chosen to work with the COE for her latest album. She explained her choice in various interviews, recalling the recording sessions for ‘Visions of Prokofiev’ as her most memorable musical experience in The Strad of February 2018. Furthermore, speaking to BBC’s Clemency Burton-Hill, she said the following:
“The very unique sound this orchestra can make is how I imagined the ideal version of these works would sound. Yannick gives a lot of freedom to those musicians to express their own individuality, proving it is possible to be an orchestra with a chamber music attitude. There is great generosity in their playing: they have an incredible timeless style which means it doesn’t belong to any fashion or school. That is something I long dreamed of having for this recording.”
BBC Music Magazine
For her concerts with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Veronika Eberle chose to perform Dvořák’s Violin Concerto to pair with Smetana’s Overture for the first half of the concert. The German violinist collaborated with COE’s honorary conductor Bernard Haitink in October 2017, when she was accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. She is no stranger to Yannick Nézet-Séguin either, having performed Berg’s Violin Concerto under his direction in Munich last year. Watch the concert here.