The unity of opposites: rarely heard hits; musical humour, human emotions, the sorrow behind smiles - this could be the summary of the moments of this concert. In fact, - while listening to the compositions themselves - we realise these are no moments but rather periods. The creation history of Richard Strauss' Le bourgeois gentilhomme / The Middle Class Gentleman (in German, Der Bürger als Edelmann) could be the basis of a theatre piece itself: of course, it was first performed as Molière's piece in the 17th century, then it was set to music by Lully, then in the early 20th century, Strauss and Hoffmannsthal attempted to create a half-prosaic, half-musical production, which, however, did not come to fruition as such. Thus, Strauss completely re-arranged it so that it could be staged as an independent composition, an orchestral suite, which finally garnered the expected success. This lengthy creation history might have greatly inspired Strauss. Molière's bourgeois gentleman desiring an aristocratic title is only a pretext to showcase the absurdities of self-aggrandisement and the outtricking of contextuality. Strauss evokes Lully's music several times, but he also makes musical references to Wagner's and his own earlier works.
Brahms’ Symphony No 3 is one of the most special ones out of the four. The music history of posterity could not resist comparing Brahms' symphonies to the compositions of other masters, but with regards to Symphony No 3, there is by no means unanimity: some discover Beethoven’s Eroica in it, others hear Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantasique, yet others detect Liszt and Wagner's influence in the appearance of the Lieitmotif in the work. Again others find proximity to Tchaikovsky's music. All this might be irrelevant, though: we are to hear a symphony in a major key imbued with pain and passion, full of captivatingly beautiful melodies, some of which have been used as movie soundtracks in a novel set-up.
We invite you, therefore, to come, listen and find your own interpretation.
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