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Elgar's Enigma



19:30 — Victoria Hall

series O


Orchestre national de Lyon

Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider

Rudolf Buchbinder

César Franck

Le Chasseur maudit (The Accursed Huntsman), poème symphonique

Ludwig van Beethoven

Concerto for piano and orchestra No 2 in B flat major op. 19

Edward Elgar

Enigma Variations op. 36

the music

In an eternal quest for good and evil, The Accursed Hunter finds a white knight to hold him back and a black knight to drive him to evil. By giving in to the latter, the hunter is devoured by his own pack. This strange German romantic story inspired César Franck to write a symphonic poem with dark and fantastic expressiveness.

A composer cursed on this side of the channel, Edward Edgar comes to Geneva with the Orchestre National de Lyon as his ambassador. To this welcome paradox we owe to Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider, current musical director of the Lyonnais orchestra, who is blowing a new wind into the city's musical life. A theme followed by 14 variations dedicated to Elgar's best friends make up his sumptuous Enigma Variations. The themes follow a coded procedure, refering to one hidden theme, present throughout the work, but never played. A real tour de force, not so surprising for a composer from the land of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie.

Finally, who better to perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No2 than the great Austrian-German pianist Rudolf Buchbinder! This Beethoven specialist has played the composer's complete 32 sonatas and concertos more than sixty times in his life. His approach places great emphasis on the study of the original sources.



Immerse yourself in the musical interpretation of the hunt with this extract of Franck’s Chasseur Maudit recorded on 24.09.2003 for Espace 2, with former musical director of the OSR, Pinchas Steinberg.

the venues

OSR Live

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Ludwig van Beethoven

Symphonie N° 4 en si bémol majeur op. 60

Jonathan Nott


Recorded on 30 July 2020 at Victoria Hall, Geneva

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Modest Mussorgsky

Night on the Bare Mountain

Jonathan Nott


Recorded on 30 November 2018 at Victoria Hall, Geneva