Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 in Bb Major
Sibelius: Symphony No.5 in Eb Major
Guest Conductor: Mark Summerbell
Soloist: Irina Lyakhovskaya (Piano)
At the start of 2018, the FSO is delighted to be welcoming back pianist, Irina Lyakhovskaya, to perform Brahms' monumental second piano concerto. Completed in 1881, the work is unusual in that it is in four movements rather than the three more typical of the Classical and Romantic periods. With his customary humour, the composer described the concerto as "some little piano pieces", which belies the performance time of around 50 minutes. The other work in the concert is Sibelius' fifth symphony. Commissioned by the Finnish government to honour the composer's 50th birthday in 1915, it is well known for the iconic horn theme of the final movement, which depicts the majestic flight of swans. Whilst working on the symphony, Sibelius wrote in his diary, "Today I saw 16 swans. God, what beauty! They circled over me for a long time. Disappeared into the solar haze like a silver ribbon." What better way to welcome in the New Year than to recapture this vision in the beauty of the composer's music?