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My musical tour in Austria, Basque Country and Hungary


I’m about to spend a whole month immersed in rehearsals and orchestral concerts which will take me to prestigious auditoriums and three countries which I love immensely: Austria, the Basque Country and Hungary. It’s like a dream for me, first of all for the programmes, which are the outcome of my suggestions, those of the host institutions, and the keenness of two such exceptional soloists as violinist Sergei Dogadin and pianist Federico Colli.

During the short tournée in Austria, I’ll be conducting the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich in the overture from the opera Ruslan and Ljudmila by Glinka, the Shostakovich Concerto no. 1 for violin and orchestra and the Martucci Symphony no. 1, first in the golden splendour of the Musikverein in Vienna (2/3 March), then in the Festspielhaus, St. Pölten (4 March), at both of which the orchestra has its residencies.

From 8 to 13 March, I’ll be conducting an orchestra which I know very well: the Euskadiko Orchestra, in five concerts which will take place in Donostia-San Sebastián, Bilbao, Pamplona-Iruña and Vitoria-Gasteiz. In the programme are two crowning glories of the symphonic repertoire, the Rachmaninov Concerto no. 2 for piano and orchestra and the symphonic poem Aus Italien by Strauss. In both of these, the virtuoso qualities of orchestra and pianist are never an end to themselves, but are essential in building the orchestral structure within which the two great composers integrated a stream of breathtaking musical ideas.

Lastly, on 23 March, I’m taking on the Mahler Symphony of a Thousand with ‘my’ Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the best of the male, female and children’s choirs, alongside excellent solo singers. We will be called on to carry out an extraordinary enterprise because, as Mahler himself wrote, we will have to try ‘…to imagine the whole universe beginning to ring and resound. There are no longer human voices, but planets and suns revolving’.
But it’s too soon yet to start taking about this milestone of philosophical thought on music. I’ll write more about it later when we’re rehearsing for the concert.