VSO: Modernism and the World of Yesterday

Main Stage

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Sir Stephen Hough returns to Burlington for a doubleheader of two composers’ first piano concertos. Mendelssohn’s propulsive work is partnered with the East Coast premiere of Hough’s The World of Yesterday, informed by musical sketches he composed for a WWII-era film score. A symphonic poem by Polish composer Wojciech Kilar, whose movie scores include Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Portrait of a Lady, and English composer Anna Clyne’s tempestuous piece round out this concert.

Of his concerto, Hough writes, “The World of Yesterday … is the title of the last book by Stefan Zweig, a memoir of his cultural life in Vienna before the First World War. I liked the instant suggestion of nostalgia with its evocation of a musical past of intense romance; and there is a section made up of a dark, decadent Viennese waltz with variations. But also such looking backwards has hints of the piano concerto’s own past as a form. From Mozart until the mid‑20th century a composer in most cases wrote a piano concerto for him- or herself to play. It was a way to communicate musical personality and to display pianistic prowess. This is true right up to Britten, Prokofiev, Bartók, Shostakovich and, supremely, Rachmaninov. What might it be to rediscover such a connection between creator and performer? This piece is my attempt to explore this.”

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and is preceded at 6:30 p.m. by Musically Speaking, a free pre-concert discussion that provides entertaining insight into the evening’s program. 


Wojciech Kilar    -    Orawa
 Felix Mendelssohn    -    Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra


Anna Clyne    -    Sound and Fury
 Stephen Hough    -    Piano Concerto: The World of Yesterday (East Coast premiere)

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