One of music's busiest and most sought-after conductors, maestro Valery Gergiev conducted the Vienna Philharmonic in an outstanding concert of works by Prokofiev, Schnittke and Stravinsky at this year's Salzburg Festival. Internationally acclaimed as an inspired interpreter of Russian music, Gergiev drew exceptional performances from the orchestra.
The program opens with Prokofiev's Symphonic Classique, Op. 25, a transparent and carefree work, self-consciously eighteenth-century in manner, Schnittke's Viola Concerto is then given a definitive performance by virtuoso Yuri Bashmet, for whom it was written. Finally, Gergiev and the Vienna Philharmonic give a vivid account of Stravinsky's Firebird. The colorful and sensuous ballet score, with its unusual rhythmic combinations, was commissioned by Diaghilev and made the composer famous overnight.