Classical 99.5 | Classical Radio Boston
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Batiashvili Plays a Luminous Szymanowski Concerto

Lisa Batiashvili
Ugo Ponte
Lisa Batiashvili

In an encore broadcast, Lisa Batiashvili is the soloist in Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 1, and Andris Nelsons leads the BSO in Copland's majestic Third Symphony.

Saturday, July 3, 2021
8:00 PM

Andris Nelsons, conductor
Lisa Batiashvili, violin

Olly WILSON Lumina
SZYMANOWSKI Violin Concerto No. 1
COPLAND Symphony No. 3

Encore broadcast from Saturday, February 9, 2019

Hear a preview of Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 1 with Lisa Batiashvili in the player above.

Interview transcript:

Brian McCreath [00:00:00] I'm Brian McCreath at Symphony Hall with Lisa Batiashvili, and Lisa, it's so good to see you here back in Boston. It's been quite a while. I do remember your Tanglewood performance from a few years ago, which was fantastic. But thanks for taking a few minutes with me right now to talk about Szymanowski.

Lisa Batiashvili [00:00:13] Thank you. It's really fantastic to be back in this phenomenal hall with this wonderful orchestra in this great city.

Brian McCreath [00:00:19] Yes, we love it here. So this concerto is kind of unlike almost anything else. And I wonder, when you first came to it, how long did it sort of take you to pull it apart and really understand what's going on in it? Szymanowski wrote it in such a way that it seems, it's so organic, it flows from one thing to the next and there's so many colors and textures. What kind of complexity was it to sort of unpack and really learn when you first took it on?

Lisa Batiashvili [00:00:45] Funnily enough, if I can be really honest, I felt something very strong about this piece right in the beginning. The range of colors and the whole palette of the diversity that this concerto has, and the tenderness and the passion is something that really, really speaks to me. I don't know, I want to enjoy each note. And it's the most delicious thing in the world and trying to enjoy it. It's really a very unusual piece because, you know, it's in one movement. It's a huge orchestration, quite problematic, actually, because it's like, you know, so many musicians on the stage against one violin voice. And the lyrical parts are so beautiful that you can die for, actually, really the mixture of Impressionism and still very romantic. But as one of the first concertos that could be called [a] modern concerto, because that's a new style that's coming out. But there is a lot a lot of inner passion and tenderness that Szymanowski actually brings with this piece.

Brian McCreath [00:02:08] So it sounds like it was a fairly natural fit for you. You sound like you took it on and really kind of organically flowed into it. Do you feel that way about Szymanowski's music in general? His Second Concerto, from much later, is pretty different. But do his other pieces kind of work that way with you?

Lisa Batiashvili [00:02:24] I love some of his pieces, but I must say this concerto I learned only last year. And that's why I recall this first emotion that I had when playing with the orchestra. And it was a youth orchestra in Europe. And I was just so overwhelmed and being overwhelmed, let's say, after having played all the grand concertos of the most popular composers, it's something that is quite special. And I have the feeling that there are layers of emotions that happen while playing and while listening to this concerto. And [the] audience usually gets quite surprised because they don't necessarily always know this piece and don't know what to expect. And Szymanowski could be this, you know, anything. And then they hear something so strong. In a way, this is a piece that has a very, very strong message and commitment. And I think that's, for me, the most exciting moment, to see how people react to this concerto.

Brian McCreath [00:03:29] And as you mentioned, the orchestra is not only large, but I mean, it plays this really prominent part. So it's so orchestrally based that I wonder, from your experience, now I know that you've only been playing it for about a year, so I don't know how many other experiences you've had to compare to, but it feels like a piece that might change a lot according to the orchestra you're playing with. And I wonder how much you have to change or how much you want to change your own way of playing your part within the concerto based on which ensemble is playing it with you.

Lisa Batiashvili [00:04:03] I think that question is with every other piece, basically, because each new experience with an orchestra and conductor is something new that brings also new inspirations. But it's so important still to have a vision of what you want to do and try to communicate it to the orchestra during the rehearsals. And of course, [the] more people play together, [the] more it becomes one. And the goal of the whole thing is to actually listen to each other and create unity on the stage. And that will be the same with everything else, but especially with this piece where, you know, in the beginning it can go different ways. But at the end, in the stage, in the concert, everybody comes together and it's very strong.

Brian McCreath [00:04:50] So, just one more question. I've always been fascinated with the way that soloists such as yourself who travel to all these different places with lots of orchestras, how you choose which projects you're going to work on and everything. What was it that drew you to want to take on the Szymanowski, when you began to learn it?

Lisa Batiashvili [00:05:10] There was a particular project that was connected to [the] Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra that wanted to to perform this piece. I mean, that was really something that we thought about. But I mean, this concerto has to be played anyway. And I think in general, your question about taking on projects, now, meanwhile, of course, most of the time I know who I'm going to perform with and I've already met these people and make music with. And I'm lucky enough to be able to basically also choose my musical partners. And each time actually I know that something beautiful will happen because I admire the musicians I play with. And I mean, I don't even have to talk about the quality of, let's say, Boston Symphony Orchestra. I know that they will be fantastic and then everything will come together. And I always have a new chance to create a little bit of the magic, if we can.

Brian McCreath [00:06:10] Absolutely. Lisa Batiashvili, it's so good to have you here. And thanks for taking a few minutes to talk with me. I appreciate it.

Lisa Batiashvili [00:06:16] Thanks very much.