[Dessner meets Mendelssohn]

© Amandine Lauriol

Benjamin Haemhouts conductor

Pierre Fontenelle cello

Bryce Dessner – Aheym
Pjotr Iljitsj Tsjaikovski – Variations on a Rococo Theme, opus 33
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy – Symphony no. 4 in A, opus 90, ‘Italian’

Casco Phil goes abroad again, this time to tiny Rheda-Wiedenbrück. Bryce Dessner’s name is etched in the collective memory as the guitarist and composer for rock band The National, but his career as a ‘classical’ composer is going at a lightning speed. His Aheym is a melancholic retrospect of his life, like a vagabond recalling his first home. Mendelssohn, too, dreamed of other places when he composed his Fourth symphony, the ‘Italian’. In his best-known symphony, he let the recurring musical themes compete with each other in the classical four-movement form of the symphony. That was Mendelssohn’s way of following in the Mozartian symphonic tradition with the typical romantic richness of imagery. The result is an exquisite symphony brimming with energy and zest for life. Tchaikovsky also considered Mozart his idol. In his spectacular Variations on a Rococo Theme, the Russian composer sings a multicoloured hymn to the cello. The virtuosity of the soloist, here the amazing cellist Pierre Fontenelle, sits embedded in a transparent and almost nimble orchestral score that makes this series of variations an absolute darling of audiences.

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