CSO 2022: Pip’s picks

The Sibelius Violin Concerto is always a favourite. It’s an evocative journey through the icy Finnish landscape, with the lone voice of the violin weaving in and out of the brooding orchestral timbres below. 

Pip Thompson, CSO Violin

Pip Thompson smiling and holding a violin
Pip Thompson, CSO Violin (Image: Martin Ollman)

One of the works I’m most looking forward to playing in 2022 is Strauss’ elegiac Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings. This profound work was Strauss’ deeply emotional response to the effects of World War II on his native Germany and is surely on every string player’s bucket list.

Whereas in most orchestral pieces, string players play in sections – groups of players of the same instrument all playing the same part – in Metamorphosen, every one of the 23 players has their own independent part. The parts interweave and exchange melodic lines, countermelodies and accompaniment figures, and the result is a texture of such extraordinary lushness and depth that it often feels as if we are drowning in a sea of endless melody and chromaticism.

The Sibelius Violin Concerto is always a favourite. It’s an evocative journey through the icy Finnish landscape, with the lone voice of the violin weaving in and out of the brooding orchestral timbres below. The expressive writing gives the piece a fairy tale quality, as if the audience is being led through a story of supernatural happenings in the beautiful but bleak Finnish natural world.

And although I’ve played Handel’s Messiah more times than I can count, it’s always fun to see what each new conductor and soloist will bring to a work that we all know so well.

Handel’s take on ‘the greatest story ever told’ is chock full of extraordinary music, from beautiful arias to exhilarating choruses. And of course, we always love it when the audience scrambles to their feet for the Hallelujah Chorus!

Pip Thompson
CSO Violin

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