The 2019/2020 season of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra opens with Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s Faust, a big coproduction by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle) and the Helsinki Festival. Also enjoying a special status in the season’s varied symphonic offering are symphonies and concertos of Dmitri Shostakovich’s middle period. The FRSO Festival now to be held for the second time will be devoted to new and large-scale works by Magnus Lindberg. The guest conductors will once again include Esa-Pekka Salonen, Herbert Blomstedt and Sakari Oramo.
Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s Faust is scored for symphony orchestra, two choruses, and vocal soloists. In the coproduction by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle) and the Helsinki Festival on August 22–23 music will join hands with performance art as the dramatic oratorio highlights turning points in Faust’s life in a stage production directed by Jussi Nikkilä. Among the vocal soloists will be Soile Isokoski, Arttu Kataja and Maximilian Schmitt.
Hector Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust to be heard on January 17 in the spring season is a favourite of Chief Conductor Hannu Lintu. “To me, it’s one of the most perfect and most dramatic works in orchestral and choral literature.” Starring in the dramatic legend will be Florian Boesch, John Irvin and Karen Cargill.
Season’s concerts follow the shift in Shostakovich’s musical idiom
There will be plenty of opportunities to hear symphonies, concertos and chamber music of Dmitri Shostakovich’s middle period during the forthcoming season. “It will be a chance to follow the shift in Shostakovich’s musical idiom,” says Hannu Lintu. The symphonies will include nos. 1 & 6, inspired by Classicism, and no. 14, representing the brighter late period. Hannu Lintu will conduct symphony no. 11, and the FRSO will play no. 10 under the baton of Han-Na Chang. Among the concertos will be no. 2 for violin with Elina Vähälä as the soloist, and no. 1 for cello with Jonathan Roozeman.
FRSO festival, Magnus Lindberg, October 11–31
The theme of the FRSO’s own festival now to be held for the second time is composer Magnus Lindberg, the orchestra’s musical partner for four decades. On the programme will be some of his earlier masterpieces, such as Kraft and Aura, and some new works receiving their Finnish premieres. Works by two of Lindberg’s soul mates – Igor Stravinsky and Robert Schumann – will feature in the festival’s chamber recitals. The event will end with Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, an opera seldom performed in Finland.
Many prestigious disc awards for the FRSO and Lintu
Discs released by the FRSO and Hannu Lintu have garnered many major awards and glowing revues in recent years. That of the Bartók violin concertos won both a Gramophone and an ICMA award, and that of Sibelius tone poems likewise an ICMA. In the forthcoming season, the FRSO and Hannu Lintu will be recording works by Magnus Lindberg, Sebastian Fagerlund and Peter Lieberson.
Concerts at the Vienna Konzerthaus and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall
The FRSO under Hannu Lintu will be appearing at the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Bratislava and Ascona Festivals and in Verona between September 29 and October 4. The soloists will be Martin Grubinger, percussion, and Elina Vähälä, violin. In May 2020, the FRSO, Hannu Lintu, pianist Seong-Chin Cho and violinist Ruy Goto will appear at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, in Nagoya and Osaka during a tour of Japan.
World Yle coverage for FRSO concerts
FRSO concerts are broadcast live on Yle Radio 1 and Yle Areena. Some are also streamed on the ARTE Concert web platform and the French Mezzo channel.