Tales from a dark century: Ernst von Dohnányi is the missing link in the story of central European music, a Hungarian romantic master who connected the world of Strauss and Mahler to the fiery new sounds of his compatriots Bartók and Kodály. But his own vision remained unashamedly Romantic, and his sweeping First Symphony – written for a huge orchestra – is one of the unsung monuments of Austro-Hungarian culture in the age of Freud and Klimt. It’s something of a passion for our young Hungarian guest conductor Gergely Madaras, and its opulence and unbridled emotion make it a telling contrast to the dark shadows and tense political drama of Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto, written as Stalin’s post-war repression reached its height. US critics have called violinist Karen Gomyo “a first-rate artist of real musical command, vitality, brilliance and intensity”: and setting the scene is a new suite from Elena Langer’s 2016 opera ‘Figaro Gets a Divorce’ – which relocates Mozart’s much-loved characters to a chillingly modern world of uncertainty, nationalism and political instability.
Prelude: 6.45pm in the Recital Room (free to ticket-holders, subject to seating availability): Composer Elena Langer introduces her Suite from ‘Figaro Gets a Divorce’, in conversation with BBC SSO violinist Alex Gascoine.
The concert will be recorded by BBC Radio 3, for broadcast at 7.30pm on Monday 24 February 2020. The presenter is Kate Molleson.