Sat. 19 October
Spuiplein 150 Den Haag
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Guest curator Jan-Peter de Graaff is only in his early thirties, but his music has already been played regularly on major Dutch stages for several years. In his multifaceted oeuvre, De Graaff proves himself an eclectic of formal clarity, with a great sense of dramaturgy. Tonight, Festival Dag in de Branding premieres his latest work, the Concerto Metropolitain, commissioned by the Ardemus Quartet and the Residentie Orkest. They will perform it under the baton of conductor Marzena Diakun.

De Graaff counts this concerto as his sixth, even though it premieres after his seventh – for the luthéal, a rare and exotic keyboard instrument – which was played at the NTR Saturday Matinee last May. Evidently the concerto’s dynamic form, with plenty of tension and interaction between the orchestra and a soloist (or group of soloists), is a fruitful source for De Graaff’s imagination.

The Concerto Metropolitain is a two-part work about the relationship between people and the city: ‘An outdoor walk in the city is very different from a walk in the countryside. Is there actually even an outdoors in the city? That is the central question the concerto ponders,’ says De Graaff. The saxophone, an invention of the industrial era, is the instrument par excellence to musically explore this metropolitan question. The young Amsterdam saxophone quartet Ardemus and the orchestra jointly build a scintillating sonic environment, with De Graaff’s characteristic antenna for tonal nuance and meaningful details.

Jan-Peter de Graaff
Jan-Peter de Graaff

De Graaff’s world premiere is sandwiched between pieces by two other tone alchemists. The concert opens with a poetic and dreamy orchestral composition by Alexander Skrjabin, the Rêverie, Op. 24, one of his first orchestral works. Skrjabin originally composed mainly for his own instrument, the piano, but this early orchestral work shows no trace of inexperience. After the interval, the Residentie Orkest plays Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony, which he composed at the request of the Finnish government for his own fiftieth birthday, which was declared a bank holiday.

Concerto Metropolitain by Jan-Peter de Graaff was made possible in part by Fonds Podiumkunsten and Société Gavigniès.

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