Stefan Vladar, conductor and piano
An avid traveller, Mendelssohn was deeply impressed by the Scottish landscape, which he undertook to depict in music. A pinnacle of his art, the Hebrides Overture is a miracle of musical magic describing the mystery and wildness of the basalt caves of Staffa. Brahms said that he would have given anything to have composed it. Dedicated to Queen Victoria, patroness of our venerable hall in Geneva, the Scottish Symphony evokes more the romanticism of Sir Walter Scott's historical novels. Written by Beethoven in 1795 for his own use at a time when he was a fashionable young virtuoso, his Piano Concerto No. 2 gives an idea of the singular force which would later become his musical language.