Aspen Music Festival And School

Aspen Chamber Symphony

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Please note 5:30 pm start time, concert is played without intermission.

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SIBELIUS: The Bard, op. 64
BRAHMS: Violin Concerto in D major, op. 77
KAIJA SAARIAHO: Ciel d’Hiver
SIBELIUS: Tapiola, op. 112

Gil Shaham's impeccable technique, inimitable warmth, and infectious joy in music-making have made him one of the foremost violinists in the world. The Brahms concerto, one of the most challenging in the repertoire, is a favorite of his; he once called “my desert island concerto.” Lush and sometimes dreamy lyricism dominates this piece. Listen for the ravishing, singing oboe solo which opens the slow movement, and then be swept away by the irrepressible jubilation of the gypsy-inspired finale.

Conductor John Storgårds has chosen three works from his native Finland for this program. Although named “The Bard,” Sibelius’s short tone poem is his only one not related to a specific myth. This atmospheric piece has beautiful writing for harp, reminiscent of the bard brushing his hand across his lyre. This quiet, poignant work will haunt you with its poetry and breathtaking orchestral effects.

Kaija Saariaho may be best known for her opera L’amour de loin, which received acclaim at the Metropolitan Opera a few seasons ago. Le Ciel d’Hiver is an adaptation of the middle movement of her symphonic work Orion. She depicts that constellation by passing a brief melody around the various instruments of the orchestra in the manner of stars crossing the sky. Enter a hypnotic, spectral world as the piano part glistens mysteriously and the woodwinds add to the ethereal mood.

Return to earth for Tapiola, another Sibelius tone poem and his last orchestral masterpiece. "Even if Sibelius had written nothing else, this one work would entitle him to a place among the greatest masters of all time," wrote music critic Cecil Gray. In Finnish folklore, Tapiola is the home of Tapio, the god of the woodland. Listening to this evocative piece you may imagine snow whipping past, or “wood-sprites” flitting about in the darkness.

Experience the “thrill of Gil” and take a sonic journey to Finland with this exhilarating program.

Tickets will remain on hold for 30 minutes.

Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO