Hear Sibelius’s most popular symphony with evocative and sensuous music by Debussy and Saint-Saëns.
The last time French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet performed Saint-Saëns’ Egyptian Concerto with the SSO he was praised for his glittering virtuosity and musical intensity. The panoramas of this evocative concerto – thudding steamship propellers, Nubian love songs and croaking frogs on the Nile – “can easily sound like a disorderly scrapbook,” wrote Peter McCallum (Sydney Morning Herald), “but Thibaudet made of it a narrative of alluring colours and piquant sensations.”
In a wonderful musical itinerary, this concert also takes in turn-of-the-century Paris and the vision of Finland’s greatest symphonist. Sibelius’s second symphony was written not long after Finlandia and it has the same fervent, noble character and uplifting optimism. By contrast, the yearning, sensuous impressionism of Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun ushered in a whole new approach to writing for orchestra, motivated by colour and effect.