RTE National Symphony Orchestra 2011-2012 Season
Principal Conductor Alan Buribayev gives his thoughts on his 2011-2012 Season
Watch Alan's video interviews in which he discusses the 2011-2012 season and his thoughts on being the RTÉ NSO's Principal Conductor
Friday 9 September
Mahler Symphony No. 5
'"When the world goes down, I hope I will be in Vienna. There it will happen 20 years later," said Gustav Mahler. In Mahler's Fifth Symphony, the world goes down in the first two movements, but old Vienna is still dancing in the third. The fourth, with its famous Adagietto, is perhaps Mahler's most beautiful and touching declaration of love for his wife, Alma. For me, the Finale is a utopian attempt to restore the universal order destroyed in the first movements; it is impossible to achieve, being the idealistic picture of a golden age.'
Friday 16 September
Prokofiev Symphony No. 1, 'Classical'
Scriabin Prometheus: The Poem of Fire
Stravinsky The Firebird
'Three Russian ways to escape reality! Prokofiev's gentle and humorous "Classical" Symphony is an idealistic model of the perfect world, revealed with humour and a familiar sarcasm, like a mix of the art of Botero and the poetry of Mayakovsky. In the mysticism of his Prometheus, Scriabin is trying to find new truth for humanity, perhaps seeing himself as Prometheus, bringing fire to people.
Stravinsky's Firebird, also through fire, brings joy and renewal to the old, dead kingdom of Kaschei, an allegoric vision of Tsarist Russia.
All three geniuses were writing before the October Revolution of 1917. But in their work after the Revolution, both Prokofiev and Stravinsky (Scriabin died) would nostalgically remember the world they wanted to change some time ago.'
Friday 11 November
Prokofiev Symphony No. 2
On the Prokofiev Symphony No. 2
'I think that Prokofiev's Second Symphony will appeal to people who also like hard rock or Metallica! Like a gigantic spaceship, it immediately crushes all classical expectations with its enormously powerful take-off and fast flight through space and time. The sudden change of mood in the second and final movement always amazes me. It is as if, after a long and dangerous journey through space, we discover many new different planets and explore each one of them, their beautiful, mysterious and sometimes dangerous and unknown natures and civilisations. For me, being a passionate science-fiction reader, this music reminds me of one of my favourite books, Stanislav Lem's Star Diaries, being fantastic, tragicomic and verrrrry ironic.'
On Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
'Molière and Richard Strauss's orchestral suite are a great combination. I'm a great fan of Molière's work, and the music of Richard Strauss Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme is like a musical comic strip to Molière's very funny and brilliant play.'
In adapting a theatre work and in doing so for one actor, Alan wants 'to show Richard Strauss' great musical wit and to stay faithful to Molière's humour and to his Monsieur Jourdain who believes that money can buy nobility and make him a gentleman. At the end of the day, despite his extravagant gestures and his attempts at sartorial elegance and excellence in dance, music, fencing and philosophy, he learns nothing.'
Friday 9 December
Wagner Siegfried's Trauermarsch und Finale from Götterdämmerung
Christopher Rouse Der gerettete Alberich
Brahms Symphony No. 1
'The clash of titans! Two old rivals, Brahms and Wagner, meet again! In nineteenth-century Vienna it was important to belong to one of the enemy camps: Wagner's, with his ideals in opera, or Brahms', with his singular focus on the symphony. The mighty shadow of Wagner is also reflected in the contemporary score of the American composer Rouse. The old fight is again under the lights. Who will be the winner? You choose!' 'Buribayev is charismatic and virtuosic.' The Irish Times, November 2010
Friday 27 January
Rimsky-Korsakov Mozart and Salieri
Mozart Requiem Mass
'Today, we know for sure that Salieri didn't poison Mozart. But the story around the Requiem, commissioned by the mysterious person in black, and the sudden death of the great composer, was so captivating that it first inspired Pushkin to write his poetic short drama Mozart and Salieri, and then Rimsky-Korsakov to set it operatically. Amadeus, the movie, came later! So, on Mozart's birthday, we give you a wonderful homage to the most divine composer in the history of music with some criminal colour from Rimsky-Korsakov, the patriarch of Russian music, and Mozart's immortal Requiem.'
Friday 24 February
Prokofiev Symphony No. 3
'The great conductor Serge Koussevitsky described Prokofiev's Third Symphony as "the greatest symphony since Tchaikovsky's Sixth". In many ways, I agree. After the fantastic and grotesque universe of the Second Symphony, Prokofiev went one step further in the Third, into the inner reaches of his own "Dante's Inferno", where sunlight comes rarely or never. Prokofiev uses the themes from his own symbolic and mysterious opera, The Fiery Angel, perhaps the scariest opera in musical history. The symphony is full of alchemy, demons and occult rituals and the passion of the grieving soul during insomniac reflections (with obvious parallels to Tchaikovsky's Sixth) is shouting in full voice, alone in the Irrational Kingdom of Angels of Fire.
Friday 9 March
' Rimsky-Korsakov The Three Wonders from The Tale of Tsar Saltan Suite
'Rimsky-Korsakov and a Russian fairytale take us on an unforgettable sight-seeing tour to a city made of diamonds and its three special wonders: a Disney-like squirrel cracking nuts made of gold; 33 knights - like clones from Star Wars; and the most beautiful Swan-Princess of the city, with interesting parallels to Lohengrin. Here Rimsky-Korsakov provides the most beautiful music to depict female beauty. For me this is a deeply personal piece, as it formed part of my final studies in the Vienna University of Music. The light from the last pages of this little masterpiece purifies my soul every time I hear its music.'
Friday 25 May
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake (excerpts)
Deirdre Gribbin The Binding of the Years (RTÉ commission, world première)
Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture
'Hollywood and military history collide. Tchaikovsky's immortal Swan Lake score shines in the Hollywood blockbuster Black Swan; Janácek and Tchaikovsky recall key moments in Czech and Russian history. Janácek has always been very important to composer Deirdre Gribbin. In this concert, featuring the première of her work, Deirdre is, in a way, in dialogue with him. I am full of anticipation and curiosity about her new piece.
Janácek' s 14 trumpets in the first and final movements inevitably awake in me the vision of the city of Minas Tirith from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. And when I conduct it, I cannot but recall the famous song "Knife Edge" by my favourite group Emerson, Lake and Palmer, where it is used as the main theme.
And you know, the Sinfonietta, referred to by Janácek as his Military Sinfonietta, has now become quite popular because of its significance in Haruki Murakami's recent novel 1Q84!'