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Marek Janowski at Victoria Hall in Geneva

Thursday, 30 September 2010 , ora 11.58

Victoria Hall in Geneva hosted on September 23rd and 24th, 2010 a concert of the Suisse Romande Orchestra, under the baton of the Polish conductor Marek Janowski, whose soloist was pianist Radu Lupu.

You have conducted a great concert at Victoria Hall, having in programme The Piano Concerto No. 5 by Beethoven and the last symphony of Shostakovich, the 15th one. What can you tell us about the chosen programme?

It is a programme with two completely different mentalities: the Concerto No. 5 by Beethoven is a masterpiece, one which has an impact; I wouldn't say a cheerful one but one full of positive grandeur regarding its character. The last symphony of Shostakovich is, to describe it in a few words, one of the most depressive works that he has ever written. He had a very depressive personality and this last symphony reflects, from the second part to the final, the image of death, the quote in the last part from Wagner announces death.

Is this the composer's legacy?

I wouldn't say that. After this symphony, he wrote, in my opinion, one of the best modern chamber works, Sonata for viola. This was his musical legacy. I think that in all of Shostakovich 15 symphonies it is an enormous variety, an inequality of the musical quality and profoundness. That is why I am very reticent, I conduct only a few of these symphonies, the others I omit from my personal repertoire. I prefer to let the works in which I don't find myself for other conductors. But symphonies No. 15, 14 or 8 are authentic masterpieces. The 15th one is spectacular and this is obvious in the public's reaction, all over the world: first it is a long moment of silence, maybe because the audience thinks that the melody will continue and then, gradually, start the ovations. I think that this programme, through the positive character of Beethoven's music and this introvert, better said negativist symphony of Shostakovich, provides a good complementarity.

And because we address to a Romanian public, what can you tell us about the collaboration with pianist Radu Lupu?

I have known him for a lot of years and we have collaborated many times, in different cities, such as London, Berlin, Paris even Monte Carlo. It always happened that Beethoven was in the programme and I think that Radu Lupu is one of the great performers of his generation in what regards this composer. We have always got along very well from the musical aspect and I have great respect for him.

The public in Romania would be very happy to meet you again.

Yes, there is a plan for this matter, we are discussing an ample project in Bucharest, and we have to see if it can come to to life.

Cristian Lupeș, Andreea Chiselev
Translated by Alexandra Dumitru and Andreea Velicu
MA students, MTTLC, Bucharest University