Strauss's Spirit, Nielsen's Soul
“Firm, incisive and vigorous conducting style” Los Angeles Times
“[Luisi] balanced passion and poetry sensitively” Financial Times
“Lively eloquence from a glowing ensemble” ★★★★ The Guardian
Overture to Der fliegende Holländer, WWV63
The Rite of Mountains: Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra, Op 47
Li Biao percussion
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op 28
Symphony No 5, Op 50
Grammy and ECHO Klassik Award-winning Fabio Luisi is currently the General Music Director of Zurich Opera and Opera di Firenze, as well as Principal Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera for the past six years. Recently appointed Principal Conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Italian maestro leads the DNSO on their Asian debut tour with a superb and diverse programme.
Unfolding as a musical battle between forces of order and chaos, Carl Nielsen’s Fifth Symphony is arguably the best known work in the Danish repertoire, composed in reaction to the catastrophe of World War I. Guo Wenjing’s percussion concerto, The Rite of Mountains is a positive response to the devastating Sichuan earthquake in 2008, with the portrayal of chaotic scenes finished by a piccolo, bringing life and hope to the audience at the end. The soloist is China’s percussion superstar Li Biao, winner of the Mercedes Benz “National Spirit Achiever Award” and a performer at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Two symphonic works by German composers complete the concert. Till Eulenspiegel is Richard Strauss’ energetic portrait of the eponymous medieval folk-hero, rogue and trickster; Wagner’s thrilling overture to his opera, Der fliegende Holländer, conjures the turbulent atmosphere of the sea with vivid realism.
Established in 1925, DNSO has an instinctive feeling for its country’s native composers – it is acknowledged to be the world’s leading orchestra in the works of Carl Nielsen – and for those of its Nordic neighbours. Following in the footsteps of such greats as Herbert Blomstedt and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos at the helm of DNSO, Fabio Luisi has developed an “extraordinary artistic chemistry” with the orchestra, and an abiding affection for Denmark’s national composer, so much so that after their performance of Nielsen’s Second Symphony at the BBC Proms in 2016, the London Evening Standard reported, “in Luisi’s hands, [it] was a riot of invention”.