Music evoking springtime and the sea is in the spotlight for this evening’s concert at the Iceland Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu. Lintu is Chief Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and has previously led the Iceland Symphony, with outstanding results. In response to his 2011 performance of Beethoven’s symphonies with the Iceland Symphony, the critic from Morgunblaðið said, “Under the baton of Hannu Lintu, the Iceland Symphony gave free rein to the entire spectrum of colour, dynamics, and ambience. The performance was uniformly captivating and exciting.”

When France’s Lili Boulanger died in 1918 at only 24 years of age, she was already a skilled composer with a number of brilliant works to her credit, including the symphonic poem that opens this evening’s concert. Des Knaben Wunderhorn, or The Boy’s Miraculous Horn, is the title of a set of German folk poems published in 1805. A vast number of composers set them to music, but none sought inspiration from them to the degree that Gustav Mahler did. In this masterwork, the music and text span the full range of human experience, from love and loss to conflict and war, and are by turns satirical, bitter, jolly, and contemplative.

The latter half of the programme is dedicated to the sea. Britten’s Sea Interludes are are selections from the tragic opera Peter Grimes, which pits a fisherman against the vicissitudes of his own nature and the animosity of the community in an English coastal village. One of Debussy’s most masterful orchestral works, La mer is often characterised as a symphony about the sea, the wind, and the waves, showcasing the full spectrum of orchestral sound and texture.

American mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, whose specialities include the music of Mahler, is an unusually inspired interpreter who has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera and Covent Garden. A regular performer with leading orchestras worldwide, including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Staatskapelle Berlin under the baton of Daniel Barenboim.

Lili Boulanger: D’un matin de printemps
Gustav Mahler: Selections from Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Benjamin Britten: Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes
Claude Debussy: La mer

Hannu Lintu

Michelle DeYoung