The Hallé’s multi-faceted Artist-in Residence, Thomas Adès conducts this atmospheric programme centred on Finland’s greatest composer, which features two of his greatest symphonies as well as a pair of pieces influenced by him.

Einojuhani Rautavaara was a protégé of Sibelius and his Deux Serenades, is a gleaming example of his seductively Romantic style. Here it’s performed by the remarkable American violinist Stephen Waarts, who made a huge impression here a couple of seasons ago when stepping in to perform Beethoven’s Violin Concerto at short notice. He also performs Adès’ homage to Sibelius, a compact, free-form concerto, in which the stratospheric solo violin soars over a restless orchestra in a serene reverie.

The concert’s two bookending Sibelius symphonies reflect his tendency in his career towards more and more concise forms. His Seventh – and final – Symphony was fashioned into one thrillingly organic movement, exploring a vast emotional range in just over twenty minutes. More expansive but still closely focused, his Fifth Symphony remains hugely popular owing to its unerring pacing and evocative, clean-textured melodies. The most famous of these – the radiant ‘swan hymn’ that ends the Symphony – proclaims as moving and emphatic a finale as you’ll ever hear.


Free pre-concert talk, 6.20pm in the auditorium: Dr Sophie Redfern introduces the programme.