Thierry returns to Chicago and the Grant Park Festival for a week-long residency next week for two programmes: for the first concert, Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements is paired with Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, and for the two subsequent concerts Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht is followed by Brahms Requiem.
He says of the week’s programme in Chicago:
I wanted there to be a contradiction within the programmes: something strict followed by a sense of abandon, like in Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements followed by Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. For the second programme, I wanted to start with this abandon – the Schoenberg – followed by something which can potentially guide us spiritually – the Brahms. This creates some sort of balancing act between the mysticism of our thoughts and a concrete realty. I think we need these contradictions.
These festivals have very different contexts – at the Grant Park Festival there might be between 6000 and 8000 people, and at the Proms there might be more of a specialist audience for the programme in question. But in both places I will feel like a tightrope-walker. This is a delicate feeling: you need absolute control within a framework of rules. This is especially important for the Boulez pieces. Boulez talks about giving time for resonance. He has a lot of rules, but you don’t feel them.
Thierry appears at the Grant Park Festival, Chicago, on 15, 17 and 18 July, at the Paléo Festival, Nyon, on 26 July, and the BBC Proms, London, on 29 August.