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Cultures in dialogue: The Mahler Chamber Orchestra gives its debut at the Athens Festival with Constantinos Carydis and Fazil Say

07-08-2010 04:44 PM CET | Arts & Culture

Press release from: Mahler Chamber Orchestra e.V.

Of Beethoven’s five piano concertos, only the third is in a minor key, an aspect which leads to frequent comparisons with Mozart’s Piano Concertos KV 466 and 491. Mozart’s innovations in the genre were further developed by Beethoven, in that he treats piano and orchestra as equal counterparts operating on the same level.

Beethoven’s Symphony no.7 in A major from the year 1813 is often viewed in a political-historical context: the Battle of the Nations in 1813 in Leipzig signalled Napoleon’s demise, and his fate was sealed six months later at the Battle of Waterloo. Beethoven, originally a fervent Napoleon supporter, had by this time already distanced himself from his idol, and the euphoric symphony seems to celebrate a triumph over the French emperor. Musically, the symphony shows further development of the stylistic characteristics already established by the composer in his Symphony no. 6.

As an artist, Fazil Say is at home on both sides of the Bosporus – he brings European classical traditions to Turkey and introduces the multifaceted music of his homeland to the rest of the world. His piano concerto Silk Road takes the listener on a journey along the legendary trade route between China and Europe. The four movements of the composition tell of the philosophy of Tibet, the dances of India, and the conflict-rife confrontations among various religions in Mesopotamia, until the final movement brings the listener to Say’s homeland Anatolia.

Periklis Koukos is one of Greece’s most important contemporary composers. His work In memoriam from the year 1989 is dedicated to the memory of the Greek composter Yannis Andreou Papaioannou. Periklis Koukos said of his composition: “This piece is a respectful farewell and a longing prayer to an absent companion, to whom all young Greek musicians will always owe a debt of gratitude.”

Each year since 1955, the Athens Festival has presented an ambitious programme of performing and fine arts that brings together Greek and Western European art forms and artists. The MCO appears for the first time at the Athens Festival.

The MCO, Constantinos Carydis and Fazil Say will repeat this concert on two occasions: on 5 September at the Tag der offenen Tür (Open House) at the Kölner Philharmonie (partner in the MCO’s Residence NRW) and on 6 September in Rimini.

The Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO), with its unusual structure, internationality and outstanding quality, is an ensemble unique to the present time. Its organisation and method of operation make it a model for the future of the European orchestral landscape. Composed of around 40 musicians from 20 different nations, and independent of external sponsorship, the MCO plays operas and concerts all over the world, in cities as well as at exclusive festivals from the North Pole to the Red Sea. The orchestra was founded in 1997 by the musicians themselves and Claudio Abbado, and the two have been reaching milestones of European musical life together ever since.

Merit Vareschi
Communications Manager
Mahler Chamber Orchestra e.V.
Hasenheide 54 / D-10967 Berlin
Phone + 49.30.41 71 79-21
Fax +49.30.41 71 79-29
Mobile +49.160.90 96 91 03

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