On November 29, Susanna Mälkki leads the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Finnish pianist Paavali Jumppanen for her last concert of 2018. After five thrilling programs with the HPO since August, Ms. Mälkki conducts the ensemble in a new work by Sean Shepherd with Brahms and Copland completing the program.
Paavali Jumppanen interprets Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1, a piece that has become an undisputed cornerstone of piano repertoire. Also on the program is Copland’s Appalachian Spring Suite, concluding with Sean Shepherd’s Express Abstractionism. A musical collage of five abstract artists in four movements, Shepherd said about the work:
“Beyond the fact that I am immediately and consistently drawn to their work, these artists have no particular relationship to each other, other than a basic definition of working predominantly as abstract (…) artists. In fact, putting these five together means that one can find an outlier in many kinds of comparisons – but a tie that appears significant to me is the generally tragic role that the political events of the early and middle Twentieth Century played in each of their lives.
“Our cultural habit has been to take them – the ideas, the artists, the work, and the movement – very seriously, but I have found it useful to view it simply. A line is a line and blue is blue, and the brush that touches the canvas fits right in the hand – today, that to me is truth.”