Johannes Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn in B-flat major, Op. 56a
Henryk Wieniawski: Violin Concerto No. 1 in F-sharp minor, Op. 14
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55 “Eroica”
Johannes Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Haydn, conceived as an ode to Joseph Haydn, represent a turning point in the composer’s career as his first work for large orchestra without a soloist. The variations may therefore be understood as a preparation for a true symphonic exploit, his First Symphony, which appeared three years later. Each variation brings its own unique character and musical colour, while maintaining the basic theme in the foreground. One of the most distinguished violinists in musical history, Henryk Wieniawski, received the commission to compose his Violin Concerto No. 1 from a member of the Russian nobility, which cemented his reputation as a composer and violin virtuoso. He composed the work while living in Russia. It features rich melodic lines, technically demanding interludes and fiery, passionate passages. Ludwig van Beethoven’s Third Symphony, known as the “Eroica”, was written during the period when the composer was grappling with the loss of his hearing. This distressing personal situation probably contributed to the intensity and depth of expression in the symphony, which revolutionised the development of symphonic music and influenced successive generations of composers.
The 7th Winter Festival will thus conclude with three works from the treasury of classical music, performed by the Slovene Youth Orchestra under conductor Živa Ploj Peršuh. A versatile conductor who is also the founder and artistic director of the orchestra, she has a wide symphonic and operatic repertoire and also enjoys tackling genre-spanning projects. Bridging the gap between formal education and the realities of professional playing, the Slovene Youth Orchestra gives young musicians a first-hand experience of all aspects of life as a professional musician. The soloist in Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 1 will be Rok Zaletel Černoš, who this year became the first Slovene violinist to participate in the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Rok is a graduate of the Ljubljana Academy of Music, where he studied under Vasilij Meljnikov. He won numerous prizes while still a student, including a Student Prešeren Prize. He is currently continuing his master studies with prof. Meljnikov at the Ljubljana Academy of Music and is completing his studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, for which he is receiving a scholarship from the Municipality of Ljubljana.
- Živa Ploj Peršuh is the founder of Music For the Future, a humanitarian arts project focused on assisting and integrating young Ukrainian musicians affected by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict
- the Slovenian Youth Orchestra is a project that includes young musicians aged between 16 and 26
- the first performance of Beethoven’s Third Symphony took place in Vienna in 1805
- Polish virtuoso violinist Henryk Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 1 is dedicated to King Frederick William IV of Prussia
- Rok Zaletel Černoš took part in the Ljubljana Festival’s International Music Cycle Young Virtuosi in 2019
- Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”), one of his best-known and most revered works, was originally dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte