Rattle and the Londoners played their hearts out – A towering Beethoven Ninth at Elbphilharmonie

LSO / Sir Simon Rattle

On their second evening at Elbphilharmonie, the London Symphony Orchestra and their Music Director Sir Simon Rattle ventured into the wondrous realm of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (1822-24). 

Teaming up with their very own London Symphony Chorus and soprano Iwona Sobotka, mezzo-soprano Anne Stéphany, tenor Robert Murray and bass Florian Boesch, the orchestra and Rattle were on their first joint expedition into the Beethoven epic. Following two performances at the Barbican last week, the Ninth Symphony is also featured on their Middle-European tour this week.   

Due to the lasting success of Beethoven’s final symphony, it is easy to forget, what an outrageously radical piece it really is. It is not only the first symphony to include a text, sung by a full chorus and a quartet of soloists, but also in terms of dramaturgy, the symphony is very much next level compared to anything written before. 

There is an instrumental narrative running through the whole symphony. The first three movements yearn for fulfillment, to no avail. Only in the finale, as embodied by Beethoven’s setting of the Schiller Ode, the music reaches resolution and completion. 

In the opening movement, first musical ideas begin to materialize from an ambient hue of the tremolo strings. There is deep unrest in the music from the very first bars on. The material screams for resolution, yet no solace is to be found. In the course of the movement Beethoven keeps painting himself into a corner, until there is no escape, and the music is brought to a brutal close. 

An obsessive scherzo ensues. Again, the music is searching a way out, but ends up chasing its own tail, again and again. Eventually, Beethoven dispenses with the whole thing by abruptly jumping out of his own circle. 

The slow movement, adagio molto e cantabile, despite all of its touching beauty, finds no solution either. Constructed with impeccable imagination and craft, the music is tuned into a spellbinding hall of mirrors, an enchantment leading nowhere.    

Thus, it is now all up to the finale. Following the earthquake opening, the previous movements are each revisited, and quickly rejected. Then, out of nowhere a new idea begins to take shape. The tide is turned, and a hitherto undiscovered sonic realm opens. 

Voices enter, lead by the bass, to sound out Schiller’s iconic verses, leading to the first choral climax. Yet, Beethoven wouldn’t be Beethoven without his jokes. So, from those exalted heights we plunge deep down into the turf, with grunting bassoons and bass drum beats. These, in turn, evolve into a spirited march for the solo tenor and chorus.   

A fugal interlude ensues, with its ever mounting tension. Before unleashing the chorus, Beethoven bewilders us with a tilted horn passage, lasting one and a half pages. When the voices finally erupt, the effect is earthmoving. 

There is a shift of mood, with more introspective and existential andante maestoso passage, paving the way for the contrapuntal feast of allegro energico e sempre ben marcato for chorus. After a jubilant final passage for the four soli, the full orchestra and chorus close the symphony with a roaringly joyous coda.   

For more than two decades, Rattle has been among the diehard advocates of the Johanthan Del Mar Beethoven editions. At Elbphilharmonie, those Bärenreiter parts were again on the music stands, though not on the podium, as Rattle conducted the piece from memory. 

LSO / Sir Simon Rattle

The London Symphony Chorus sang also off-book, in keen eye contact with the Elbphilharmonie audience. The sheer joyous intensity of the choir, not to mention their immaculate counterpoint and elaborate articulation, made a tremendous effect upon the listener. 

Not in every performance does one get to hear such an imaginative quartet of soloists as on Wednesday. As always, Florian Boesch gave truly one-of-a-kind reading of the bass part, with impeccable insight and wit. Iwona Sobotka’s soprano lines soared with translucent beauty. With Robert Murray’s jubilant tenor and Anna Stéphany’s radiant mezzo, the vocal quartet was perfected, to a stunning effect. 

In his usual manner with the Ninth, Rattle had doubled the winds, both in order to gain more ideal balance with the strings and to help the players survive Beethoven’s hardcore wind writing, in the first two movements in particular.  

There was a ravishing combination of gorgeous sonic mass and period-practice dexterity in the LSO performance, perfectly suited for this larger-than-life symphony. With Rattle, nothing was played safe, and the listeners, as well as, I would imagine, the performers, were on the edge of their seat for the whole evening.  

To paraphrase Nikolaus Harnoncourt, real beauty is indeed at the edge of catastrophe. In Beethoven, the element of danger is everything. With this soaringly exuberant performance, Rattle and the Londoners, alongside their brilliant soloists, grasped the very essence of Beethoven’s score, to an invigorating effect. 

LSO / Sir Simon Rattle

In addition to the towering musical quality of the performance, hearing these outstanding UK ensembles play their hearts out during these brooding post-Brexit times was something so very special. Evenings like this stay ever engraved in memory.     

As with previous night’s programme, Rattle had again paired Beethoven with the music of Alban Berg. On the first half, Symphonic Pieces from the Opera ”Lulu”, or simply Lulu-Suite, (1934) was heard. Incidentally, it is the very same pairing conducted by Rattle’s Berlin successor, Kirill Petrenko, at his inaugural concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker last August.

Berg’s Symphonic Pieces comprise indeed a quasi-symphonic whole. At the core of the five-movement suite is Lulu’s Song, a self-portrait of the title character. The song is framed by two interludes. The first one is a musical palindrome, originally written for a film interlude, hence titled Filmusik in Berg’s autograph score. The second interlude is an ingenious set of dance variations from the unfinished third act of the opera. 

The extended outer movements, opening Rondo and concluding Adagio, are the most symphonic among the five pieces, each based on an eloquently constructed musical arc. 

Scored for a large orchestra, including prominent parts for saxophone and vibraphone, Berg’s score is a dazzling synthesis of dodecaphony and tonal elements, tight formal logic and cabaret sonorities. Together with the Violin Concerto heard on the previous evening, Lulu Suite is an awe-inspiring summa of Berg’s late style; spellbinding textures with pervasive, shatteringly dark-hued undercurrent.  

Programme-wise, the ruthless world of Lulu, embedded with deceit, abuse, emptiness, and death, leads into that very darkness and despair, which the closing Beethoven Ninth so luminously dispelled.      

At Elbphilharmonie, Berg’s orchestral fabric was brought to life with gorgeously lush sonorities and admirable transparency by the LSO and Rattle. With splendid reactivity, the orchestra conveyed even the slightest dramatic nuance, to a riveting effect. 

Lulu’s Song was delivered with splendid intensity and character by Sobotka, whose articulation was always spot on. In the Adagio, she portrayed Countess Gescwitz’s moving valediction with fragile beauty.    

 

London Symphony Orchestra

Sir Simon Rattle, conductor

 

London Symphony Chorus

Simon Halsey, chorus master

 

Iwona Sobotka, soprano

Anna Stéphany, mezzo-soprano

Robert Murray, tenor

Florian Boesch, bass

 

Alban Berg: Symphonic Pieces from the Opera ”Lulu” (1934)

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 (1822-24)

 

Konzertdirektion DR. Rudolf Goette GmbH

Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg

Wednesday 19 February 2020, 8 pm

© Jari Kallio

Photos © Sebastian Madej

A masterpiece unearthed – Christus am Ölberge soars with Rattle and the Londoners

One of the most intriguing aspects of Beethoven 250 celebrations manifests itself with performances of those rarely heard pieces outside our standard repertoire. While some of these pieces are understandably forgotten, there is at least one borderline masterpiece among the neglected works, namely Beethoven’s only oratorio, Christus am Ölberge (1803/1804/1811).

Composed during Beethoven’s residence at Theater an der Wien, and premiered as a part of an academy concert in April 1803, alongside the Second Symphony (1801-03) and the Thrid Piano Concerto (1800), the oratorio was fairly succesful during Beethoven’s lifetime, as demostrated by several early performances.

While Christus am Ölberge looks forward to Leonore (1805) and, eventually, to its final guise as Fidelio (1814), the oratorio is a substantial piece in itself. During those early years of the 19th century, the two great oratorios by Haydn, The Creation (1797-98) and The Seasons (1799-1801) were exceedingly popular in Vienna, alogside several oratorios by Handel.

Unlike his predecessors, Beethoven set out to write an oratorio of unique intimacy. Based on a libretto by Franz Xavier Huber, Christus am Ölberge was composed with some haste during the early months of 1803, while Beethoven was also working on the Eroica Symphony (1802-04).

While Huber’s text may not be counted among poetic masterstrokes, it does provide an intimate, human setting of Christ’s dark night of the soul. From our contemporary point of view, Huber’s text, with all its deviations from Biblical sources, bears immediate communicativeness, intensified by Beethoven’s inspired setting.

For Beethoven, the existential questions of the Passiontide text touched also a more personal ground. As demonstrated by his Heiligenstadt Testament, Beethoven was going through a profound personal crisis, rooted in the looming tragedy of his inevitable loss of hearing.

The libretto calls for three soloists. In Beethoven’s score, Jesus is not sung by a baritone or a bass, but a tenor. It has been speculated, that Beethoven’s highly unusual choice could have served as a model for Wagner’s great final tenor role, Parsifal.

Be that as it may, Beethoven’s musical portrayal of the Redeemer is profoundly human, both fragile and heroic.

The other extensive solo part, the Seraph, or Jesus’ guardian angel, is sung by a soprano. The bass soloist has a less demanding task, for the third solo part, Petrus, is featured in the final section only. The chorus sings multiple roles, from the angelic host all the way to the soldiers arresting Jesus, and beyond.

In the course of the 19th century, Christus am Ölberge, though published in 1811, gradually fell out of fashion. Shadowed by Beethoven’s mature choral masterpieces, the early oratorio fell into oblivion. Though occasionally performed, it remained as a curiosity. Although committed to disc on a couple of occasions, with varying success, Christus am Ölberge is a little-known score by a well-known composer.

In this respect, Sir Simon Rattle’s commitment to perform Christus am Ölberge with the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus has been one of the most thrilling choices of programming for the Beethoven year. First performed at the Barbican Centre in January, Rattle and the Londoners are currently on a Middle-European tour with the oratorio.

On Tuesday, Christus am Ölberge was heard at the Elbhilharmonie in Hamburg, with soprano Elsa Dreisig, tenor Pavol Breslik and bass David Soar as soloists.

The fifty-minute oratorio begins with a splendid orchestral introduction, featuring formidably dramatic parts for three trombones, ominous timpani effects, rapid string figures and airy winds. Setting the mood perfectly, the overture is a wonderful mini-drama in itself. Performed with extraordinary intensity and clad in gorgeous sonorities, the Passiontide drama was wonderfully set in motion by Rattle and the LSO.

Jesus’ recitative and aria ensue, depicting the Redeemer in his darkest hour, in solitude, in both physical and metaphysical sense. The Seraph appears, alongside a Heavenly host, to restore Jesus’ courage to tread the thorny road paved for him.

Luminously sung by Breslik and Dreisig, the meeting of Jesus and the Seraph bears admirable immediacy. The London Symphony Chorus performed with commanding authority, precision and purity, to a dazzling effect.

Beethoven’s choral writing is ever inspired and cleverly constructed, with a nod towards his predecessors, Handel, Haydn and Mozart alike. Despite the shortcomings in the text, both the solo lines and the choral parts are clad in spirited guise throughout.

The arrest of Jesus is a dramatic scene par excellence, featuring spellbinding contrapuntal textures. Rousingly sung by the LSC male voices, Rattle’s intense pacing had a gripping effect.

Christus am Ölberge closes with a terzetto, including Petrus, followed by the final chorus. A key moment in the drama ensues, as Jesus commands Petrus to put down his sword, and cool his anger. With compassion thus overcoming hate, the road to salvation is open. Marvellously sung by the three soli, the terzetto was a treat.

Beethoven’s final chorus builds up to an apt climax for the oratorio. With Christ’s work fulfilled, the jubliant choral parts soar, accompanied by full orchestra. With Rattle, the LSO and the LSC provided a life-affirming ending for Christus am Ölberge, resounded by the gorgeous Elbphilharmonie acoustics.

Although we are not yet far into the Beethoven year, it is not too early to say, that this production of Christus am Ölberge, a labour of love from Rattle and his London forces, will be one of the absolute highlights of the anniversary year. Hopefully these performances and a forthcoming album release will pave the way for the re-establishment of this outstanding piece into the repertoire.

As a fitting coupling, Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto (1935) was heard on the first half, with Lisa Batiashvili as soloist. Written for the memory of Manon Gropius, the daughter of Alma Mahler and Walter Gropius,Berg’s final completed score is one of the greatest violin concertos of the 20th century.

Cast in two movements, each further divided into two main sections, the concerto is a shattering journey through a soundscape of sorrow and, eventually, solace. Musically speaking, Berg’s eloquent score travels a full circle, as the concerto opens and closes with the same musical material.

Conceived as an instrumental requiem, the score fuses together diverse sonic identities, including, famously, a Bach chorale Es ist genug. A ravishing mixture of dodecaphony and tonality, the Violin Concerto is an astounding creation.

At Elbphilharmonie, the demanding solo part was performed with flawless virtuosity by Batiashvili, with Rattle and the LSO tackling the orchestral textures with luminous transparency and admirable sensitivity.

On a personal level, Tuesday’s performance, albeit wonderful in every respect, did not quite reach the one-of-a-kind depths of Isabelle Faust’s unique reading with the LSO and Rattle at the Barbican in January 2018. Yet, this is a highly subjective statement, a footnote to a top-class performance.

 

London Symphony Orchestra

Sir Simon Rattle, conductor

 

Lisa Batiashvili, violin

 

London Symphony Chorus

Simon Halsey, chorus master

 

Elsa Dreisig, soprano (Seraph)

Pavol Breslik, tenor (Jesus)

David Soar, bass (Petrus)

 

Alban Berg: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, ’To the Memory of an Angel’ (1935)

Ludwig van Beehtoven: Christus am Ölberge (1803/1804/1811)

 

Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg

Tuesday 18 February 2020, 8 pm

 

© Jari Kallio

Photos © Daniel Dittus

Sonic heat and rhythmic virtuosity with Petrenko and the Berliner Philharmoniker at Elbphilharmonie

Following a series of concerts at their Philharmonie home last week, the Berliner Philharmoniker and Chief Conductor Kirill Petrenko embarked on their first joint tour through Germany, starting with an evening at the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie on Monday.

The orchestra and Petrenko are touring with a wonderful 20th Century programme, featuring Igor Stravinsky’s brilliant Symphony in Three Movements (1945) and Serge Rachmaninoff’s final masterpiece, Symphonic Dances (1940), alongside a dazzling rarity, Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Alagoana – Caprichos Brasileiros (1950).

During the orchestra’s first season with their new chief, the Berliners have provided us with marvellous performances of various mid-20th century classics, ranging from Berg to Bernstein, and their latest programme is digging even deeper into this fertile ground.

Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements is a wondrous creation, with most checkered background imaginable. In the symphony, material from an unfinished piano concerto and an unrealized Hollywood film project shake hands with The Rite of Spring (1911-13), which the composer was reorchestrating while writing the symphony.

As a remnant of the projected concerto, there is a virtuoso orchestral piano part in the symphony, especially in the first movement. A scheme Stravinsky also adopted for the revised version of Petrushka (1910-11/1946-47).

The second movement, a luminous andante, featuring enchanting writing for winds and harp, is based on music originally written for the apparition scene from the film The Song of Bernadette (1943). However, 20th Century Fox ended up disapproving Stravinsky’s contract, and the film was eventually scored by Alfred Newman. This, in turn, enabled Stravinsky to rework the film music into the new symphony.

Bridged with a short interlude, the music flows into the upbeat finale, an uncharacteristically triumphant burst of joyous energy. The newsreels of allied forces advancing to defeat Hitler inspired Stravinsky as he was finishing the symphony, resulting in the festive march-like finale. A war symphony miles apart from Shostakovich, Symphony in Three Movements is one of Stravinsky’s most fascinating pieces.

At Elbphilharmonie, the rhythmic maze of the opening movement, with its proto John Adams textures, was unraveled with virtuosity and rousing sonic energy, commanding the listener’s full attention. In the second movement, the musical material was presented with exemplary clarity and grace, to a stunning effect. With a flamboyant, yet always carefully detailed performance of the finale, Symphony in Three Movements was brought to its uplifting close.

Zimmermann’s thirty-minute, five-movement ballet score Alagoana – Caprichos Brasileiros is a thrilling piece. Finished in 1950, Alagoana is based on a Native Amarican legend on the quest for eternal life. Rooted in dance, the music bears influences from Stravinsky, Ravel, Bartók and various dance hall idioms of the 1940s, all distilled into Zimmermann’s highly original style.

The score calls for a large orchestra with three saxophonists, three keyboards, a piano, a harpsichord and a celesta, as well as a plethora of percussion. Clad in spellbinding rhythms and exquisite orchestral colour, Alagoana is an instant charmer, far too rarely heard in the concert hall.

Between the ravishing overture and the quasi-symphonic finale, there is a riveting sequence of various dance characters, as well as some gorgeous night-music, worthy of Bartók. There is no concrete plot per se, but rather an abstract series of soundng images wrought in rhythm and texture.

The outstanding Elbphilharmonie performance by the Berliner Philharmoniker and Petrenko formed a splend continuum with the extraordinary feast of rhythm heard in the New Year’s Eve concert in December, with Gershwin’s An American in Paris (1928) and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story (1960). Zimmermann’s unique harmonic colouring was brought to life with radiance by the orchestra, resulting in a memorable performance.

The evening concluded with Rachmaninoff’s last major work, the Symphonic Dances. Written in 1940 in the composer’s New York exile, the score bears similarities with the Third Symphony (1935-36/1938) in its bittersweet nostalgia for the Russia lost. Both scores demonstrate Rachmaninoff’s unique form of nostalgia, clad in ingenious rhythmic guise.

Cast in three extended dance movements, the score features quotations from Rachmaninoff’s earier works, including the First Symphony (1895/1897) and the All-Night Vigil (1915). In addition, the composer’s signature quotation, the Dies irae plainchant motive, reappears in the finale, depicting our fundamental struggle with death.

Symphonic Dances is scored for a large orchestra, featuring a prominent alto saxophone part in the first movement, and a xylophone in the finale. In addition, there are notable solo passages for cor anglais, and an imaginative use of orchestral bells found in the score.

The opening movement is filled with yearning, with haunting melodic material clad in lush orchestral garb. Altering with a marcato main subject, the lyrical material is developed with most inspired imagination by Rachmaninoff, to a spellbinding effect.

The second movement, in contrast, is a sarcastic valse. Opening with a spiky motive by muted horns and trumpets, the music is set in surreal, dream-like motion. With his superlative orchestration, Rachmaninoff sets forth on a journey into a realm of unique fantasy, howering between dreams and nightmares.

The finale is a wild, storm-like panorama of life and death, with the Dies irae motive woven into the orchestral fabric, alongside quotations from the All-Night Vigil. Following a vehement struggle, the music concludes with a victorious burst of gorgeous sforzato chords, coloured by a resounding tam-tam.

A staple of the Berlin repertoire throughout the Rattle era, the orchestra has a firm grasp on the score. With Petrenko, Symphonic Dances glowed with marvellous sonic heat, intensified by the swift tempi and intricate orchestral detail. A worthy conclusion for an inspiring evening.

Compared to the warmer ambience of the Berlin Philharmonie, the hyper-clear Elbphilharmonie acoustics provide more transparent take on the trademark Berliner Philharmoniker sound, further highlighting Petrenko’s nuanced attention to detail. An intriguing experience.

 

Berliner Philharmoniker

Kirill Petrenko, conductor

 

Igor Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements (1945)

Bernd Alois Zimmermann: Alagoana – Caprichos Brasileiros (1950)

Serge Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances (1940)

 

Konzertdirektion Dr. Rudolf Goette GmbH

Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg

 

Monday 17 February 2020, 8 pm

© Jari Kallio

Photos © Stephan Rabold

Album review: The FRSO and Hannu Lintu deal Lutosławski with perfection

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The symphonies of Witold Lutosławski are among the most astonishing creations of the postwar European modernism. Apart from the relatively conventional, yet spirited, Symphony No. 1 (1947), each of the symphonies open new vistas of dazzling invention and thrill. 

Recordings of Lutosławski’s symphonies appear on disc every now and then, yet, so far, there has been only three complete cycles available, including one by Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Antoni Wit on Naxos, another by Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen on Sony, and, most recently, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Edward Gardner on Chandos. 

Following their acclaimed 2018 album, featuring Lutosławski’s Symphonies 1 and 4, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chief Conductor Hannu Lintu have now completed their cycle with a second volume, featuring Symphonies 2 and 3. 

Recorded in November 2018 at the Helsinki Music Centre, following a series of concert performances, the symphonies are presented on disc in crystal-clear SACD guise, providing apt sonics for Lutosławski’s detailed orchestration and nuanced tone-colour. 

Lutosławski’s middle symphonies are extraordinary pieces of music. In both works, Lutosławski fuses together a multitude of compositional techniques into riveting synthesis of harmony, colour, texture and counterpoint. 

Always keen on searching new means of expression and form, Lutosławski became fascinated by the chance procedures employed by John Cage in the early sixties. Lutosławski was seeking means to extended the players’ interpretative freedom while maintaining strict control of form. As a result, Lutosławski came up with a system, where the musical phrases are written out in detail, but their co-ordination employs chance elements, within a limited structural framework.  

With the two symphonies recorded here, Lutosławski perfected his limited aleatoricism. Among all the aleatory techniques developed since the 1950s, Lutosławski’s is one of the most personal, with lasting appeal. Lutosławski’s aleatory counterpoint fuses together pre-determined material and chance elements into an organic whole. 

Symphony No. 2 (1965-67) is cast in two c. fifteen-minute movements, played attacca. The first, Hésitant, is built upon distinct episodes, separated by pauses. True to its title, the music is fragmentary, as if in constant search. In contrast, the second movement, Direct, presents itself in more straightforward manner, driven by its stupendous contrapuntal flow. 

In the opening movement, cloud-like formations follow each other, emerging, taking shape and vanishing, without resolution. This results in ever-mounting tension, eventually leading to the sonic tumult of the second movement. 

Opening with a deep murmur of bassoons and low strings, the second movement gradually builds up to buzzing contrapuntal formations. Clad in ever-transforming textural colour, the musical material travels through the orchestra, finally bursting into a climax for brass and percussion. 

Throughout the movement, there is enormous kinetic tension within the musical material, leading to a series of sonic bursts, to a gripping effect. On the final pages, the music gradually evaporates into the vibrating hue of the low strings. 

On disc, the FRSO and Lintu perform the symphony with vitality and commitment. Combined with admirable contrapuntal clarity and detailed phrasing, the performance is nothing short of a revelation; an analytical approach with splendid sonic heat, this is a fine take indeed. 

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The thirty-minute Symphony No. 3 (1972-83) is written in one extended movement. The opening motive, a brief, signal-like brass fanfare, reappears throughout the vast sonic arc, and, eventually, closes the symphony. Coming full circle the Third Symphony is a breathtaking journey throughout seemingly endless permutations of texture and colour. 

For a conductor, Lutosławski’s Third Symphony is a marvellous challenge. In addition to the careful co-ordination of the aleatory passages, further developed from those of the Second Symphony, maintaining continuum within the thirty-minute arc calls for a thorough grasp of Lutosławski’s architectural plan. 

Lintu and the FRSO navigate through the score of Symphony No. 3 with flying colours. From the opening fanfare on, the listener is simply spellbound by the ravishing soundscapes, stupendously unveiled by the top-class performance. A tribute to Lutosławski’s unique imagination and invention, the performance is admirably paced, resulting in a wonderful realization of the vast symphonic arc. 

Lutosławski’s eloquently contrapuntal textures are embedded in exemplary clarity and perfect balance. The extraordinary teamwork between the splendid FRSO musicians and their brilliant Chief Conductor is admirable. 

The now-completed Lutosławski cycle continues Lintu’s wondrous survey of 20th century masterpieces with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Alongside the first volume of their Lutosławski cycle, Messiaen Turangalila and the awesome Ligeti album, the new disc is yet another compelling document of the top-class artistry of this fabulous team. 

Recorded with finesse and admirable attention to detail, this is a milestone album in the Lutosławski discography. Wholeheartedly recommended. 

 

Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Hannu Lintu, conductor

 

Witold Lutosławski: Symphony No. 2 (1965-67)

Witold Lutosławski: Symphony No. 3 (1972-83)

 

Recorded at the Music Centre, Helsinki, 26-30 November 2018

Ondine ODE 1332-5 (2020), 1 SACD

© Jari Kallio

Album review: Tremendous Mahler 8 from Philadelphia

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Gustav Mahler’s Eighth Symphony (1906) is one of those pieces that extend beyond all attempts of categorization and description. It is a one-of-a-kind symphony that simply has to be experienced. 

All this may sound terribly clichéd, but in case of a symphony written in two parts, one a 25-minute Latin hymn, another an hour-long setting of the final scene of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust II (1831), scored for eight soloists, three choruses and a vast orchestra, there are not many equals in the repertoire. 

In Mahler’s output, the Eighth is pretty much sui generis. Though he had used vocal and choral elements within the symphonic concept already in the Second (1888-1894), Third (1895-96) and Fourth Symphonies (1899-1901/1902-10), the Eighth was to become the first choral symphony proper, with omnipresent sung parts.         

Fusing together various influences from baroque via Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (1822-24) all the way to Wagner, the Eighth Symphony is rooted in the idea of the harmony of spheres, or music as a manifestation of the universe. 

From first sketches on, Mahler intended to open the symphony with a Latin hymn, landing soon on a setting of the pentecostal Veni creator spiritus. Originally, Mahler had envisioned a four-movement symphony, but in the end he came up with an unprecedented scheme of a symphony in two parts, with the pentecostal hymn now paired with an extended setting of the final scene of Goethe’s Faust II. 

As a result, the Eighth Symphony is a dazzling summa, combining symphony, cantata and oratorio into an eighty-minute musical entity. The first draft of the symphony was written at extraordinary speed between the middle of June and the end of August 1906. Mahler himself felt as if the whole symphony was dictated to him.    

There are two famous quotations from Mahler, that encapsulate the very nature of the Eighth Symphony in splendid manner. 

In a 1906 letter to Willem Mengelberg, Mahler wrote that ”Imagine that the universe begins to sound and ring. There are no longer human voices, but planets and suns that circulate.” The next year, while in Helsinki en route to St Petersburg, Mahler told Sibelius, that ”the symphony must be like the world. It must be all-encompassing.”  

According to Alfred Roller, the set designer for Mahler’s acclaimed 1903 production of Tristan and Isolde, the composer referred to the symphony as his mass, or a musical credo, during the rehearsals for the first performance. 

The symphony was premiered in Munich in September 1910, with Mahler himself conducting two performances. The Eighth Symphony was an immediate, towering success. For Mahler himself, the symphony was his magnum opus, unsurpassed by even his late works.   

The first American performance of the symphony was conducted by Leopold Stokowski in Philadelphia in March 1916, less than six years after the world premiere. A century later, almost to the day, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Music Director of The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted the symphony in series of performances recorded by Deutsche Grammophon, for the new CD album.

Featuring Westminster Symphonic Choir, The Choral Arts Society of Washington and The American Boychoir, alongside eight wonderful soloists, Angela Meade, Erin Wall, Lisette Oropesa, Elizabeth Bishop, Mihoko Fujimura, Anthony Dean Griffey, Marcus Werba and John Relyea, the performance is a rousing one, clad in exquisite detail. 

Upon the appearance of the very first note, a deep E flat pedal, uttered by bass clarinet, bassoons, double bassoon, celli, double basses and organ, one gets swept away by the glorious Philadelphia sound. On record, I can’t recall hearing more convincing opening for this symphony. The feeling is only enhanced by the ravishing entry of the double choir from the second bar on. 

The first part, conceived as a giant motet, poses particular challenges of balance and pacing. With extreme contrasts in dynamics and texture in the score, the conductor must have a firm sense of the overall form in order to maintain continuum. 

With Nézet-Séguin, Veni crator spritus unfolds magnificently, well proportioned and admirably nuanced. The soli and the choruses are nicely balanced throughout Imple suprema gratia. Although the bassoon lines are occasionally overrun by the celli, the orchestra sounds absolutely brilliant. 

In similar vein, Infirma nostri corporis is brought to life with riveting vocal and instrumental colour. The entries of the second and the first choir from figure 19 on are clad in sonic magic, and the violin solo, starting at figure 20, is simply luminous. 

As the orchestral interlude begins at figure 23 (track 4 on the CD), there is a thrilling change of mood and texture with those gorgeous muted horns. 

The sheer energy and vitality of Accende lumen sensibus, always carefully balanced, results in one of the many highlights of this recording. Exalted and ecstatic, the music resonates with dazzling vocal and instrumental momentum, paving the way for the closing Gloria sit Patri Domino. 

Augmented by offstage band of four trumpets and three trombones, the first part comes to its ravishing close with a stunning tutti. Here, the music sounds wonderfully layered, with apt clarity. 

In the course of the vast symphonic arc of the Second Part, thematic material from Veni creator spiritus reappears in various guises, thus bridging the two parts together in most imaginative ways.

Opening with slow orchestral introduction, stupendously played by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Nézet-Séguin, the otherworldly realm of Part Two starts to unfold. The first vocal lines emerge, as the two choirs enter, pianissimo, echoing each other, shrouded in mystery, while solo flute soars high above. 

Gradually, solo voices enter, clad in Wagnerian hue. Pater estaticus and Pater profundis are compellingly sung by baritone Markus Werba and bass John Relyea.  

Choral textures from Veni creator spiritus reappear, now applied to Goethe’s text. Woven together with Elizabeth Bishop’s spirited alto, the passage carries a fleeting echo of the Third Symphony. A tenor voice, Doctor Marianus, joins. Sung by Anthony Dean Griffey, the solo line hovers over orchestral and choral canvas in splendid radiance. 

Another stupendous orchestral interlude follows, with strings, harps and horns glimmering in static beauty, setting the stage for wondrous choral passage. Female voices join, first Una poenitentium, followed by Magna Peccatrix, Mulier Samaritania and Maria Aegyptiaca. 

Cast for  two soprano voices, sung by Erin Wall and Angela Meade, and two alto voices, sung by Elizabeth Bishop and Mihoko Fujimura, Mahler’s vocal parts are sublime yet intense, wonderfully caught on on record here. Admirably accompanied by the orchestra and Nézet-Séguin, the voices and instruments are in perfect balance. 

A glimpse of Heaven is provided by soprano Lisette Oropesa’s achingly beautiful take on Mater gloriosa. An oasis of tranquillity, providing brief rest before the finale.   

Closing with two choral frescoes, the symphony is brought to its transcendent ending with Blicket auf and, finally, Chorus mysticus. Both skillfully built, with astonishing intensity and utmost beauty. Thus the Eighth Symphony comes to its tremendous close, with the soli, choirs and orchestra sounding as one giant entity. Following the scheme of the finale of the Second Symphony, the closing pages are written for orchestra alone; a stupendous coda, with dream-like playing by the Philadelphia Orchestra.  

In addition to the performers, the Eighth Symphony is quite a challenge to the recording team too. Most recordings of the symphony originate either from live performances or ’studio’ takes from rehearsals, in conjunction with concert performances. 

Especially with the older studio recordings, there is a recurring tendency to overbalance the soloists, leading to somewhat lopsided acoustic experience. In contrast, in many of the live recordings, the solo lines, be they vocal or instrumental, tend to get lost in the crowd. 

On this recording, the DG team is at the top of their game. The voices, solo or choral, are well balanced with the orchestra throughout. As for the instrumental parts, there is a marvellous clarity, admirably emphasizing the Philadelphia sound. Here, my only real complaint concerns the bassoon lines, which don’t shine out the way the other instruments do. Occasionally, I would have wanted more focused tuba sound too. 

Still, this is probably my favourite recording in terms of recording and engineering the orchestral parts. As for the three choirs, there is a wonderful sense of space, with the contrapuntal textures captured in all their radiance.

The solo voices are naturally balanced, with the soprano and alto voices soaring in the midst of the complex orchestral and choral web of sound. In tutti sections, the male soloists seem less focused, partly due to their registers. Yet, they come out way better than on most recordings, without sounding artificially enhanced. 

 

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor

 

Westminster Symphonic Choir

Joe Miller, chorus master

 

The Choral Arts Society of Washington

Scott Tucker, chorus master

 

The American Boychoir

Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, chorus master

 

Erin Wall, soprano

Angela Meade, soprano

Lisette Oropesa, soprano

Elizabeth Bishop, mezzo-soprano

Mihoko Fujimura, mezzo-soprano

Anthony Dean Griffey, tenor

Markus Werba, baritone

John Relyea, bass

 

Recorded at Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, 10-13 March 2016

Deutsche Grammophon 0289 483 7871 5 (2020), 1 CD

 

© Jari Kallio

Arcangelo’s dazzling Theodora soared at Konzerthaus

Premiered at Covent Garden Theatre in March 1750, Theodora is one of the finest dramatic oratorios by George Frideric Handel. Written within one month in the summer of 1749, Theodora was not a success upon its premiere. Yet, posterity has, deservedly, deemed it a masterpiece.

Handel’s penultimate oratorio is a tragedy based on Christian subject. With a libretto by Thomas Morell, Handel’s longtime collaborator and friend, it tells the story of Christian saints Theodora and Didymus, who died as martyrs in Alexandria in 304.

Theodora, a young noblewoman of Alexandria, was imprisoned after her refusal to offer sacrifice to the Roman gods. Initially saved by Didymus, who persuaded her to conceal her identity by wearing his helmet and armor and escape, while Didymus stayed in prison in her stead. However, as Didymus was condemned to death, Theodora went to the court offering herself in Didymus’ stead. As either of them refused to be saved by the other, they both were executed.

For Morrell and Handel, the legend provided an inspiring starting point for a dramatic oratorio. Although Theodora lends itself to the stage quite well, it probably makes more intimate and compelling effect as a concert oratorio, as demonstrated by the fine performance with Arcangelo, conducted by Jonathan Cohen at the Vienna Konzerthaus on Saturday.

Featuring an excellect cast, the Arcangelo performance was both intense and intimate, true to Handel’s score and Morrell’s libretto.

Cast in three acts, Theodora opens with preparations for the feast of Diocletian’s birthday. During the feast, all citizens are to sacrifice for Venus.

The music begins with a characteristically spirited overture, followed by the first scene. For the chorus of heathens, Handel writes splendid quasi-regal music, with full orchestral accompaniment, including two trumpets and timpani.

From the very opening on, one could but marvel the dazzling performance of the instrumentalists and singers of Arcangelo. The orchestra brought Handel’s music to life with tremendous energy and radiant instrumental colour, whereas the chorus sung with admirable clarity and dexterity. Marvellously expressive, the choral numbers were pure joy.

In the opening scene we meet the main antagonist, the Roman governor Valens, a bass, whose lines are clad in fierce authority and zeal by Handel. Following Valens’ decree that all citizens are obliged to offer sacrifice to Venus, Didymus, a soldier and secretly a Christian, is troubled by the safety of his fellow Christians. Sung by a countertenor, Didymus’ soaring vocal lines convey his virtuous character in a formidable manner.

Contertenor Tim Mead was a wonderful Didymus. His soaring vocal lines were always immaculately articulated and carefully nuanced, resulting in a gripping performance. Bass Neal Davies, who had stepped in for Brindley Sherratt for the Konzerthaus performance, gave compelling and well characterized performance as Valens. A veteran to the role, Davies has sung Valens in many productions, including a fabulous Archiv recording, conducted by Paul McCreesh.

The first act concludes with Theodora worshipping God among her Christian community. A messenger appears, bringing news of Valens’ decree. As the Christians refuse to perform the sacrifice to Venus, Septimus, a Roman soldier, arrests Theodora, who is then forced to serve as a prostitute, while imprisoned in Venus’ temple.

In Theodora, Septimus is a link between the Roman and Christian traditions. As fellow soldiers, Septimus and Didymus exchange thoughts on justice and religion, contemplating on the key subjects of the libretto. Convincingly portrayed by tenor Jeremy Ovenden, Septimus’ role was in good hands.

For Christians, Handel writes choruses of solemn piousness. Theodora, a soprano, sings radiant, pure vocal lines, reflecting her youth and purity, but also steadfast determination, to a stunning effect. Handel’s music for her friend, Irene, an alto, is rooted in subtle, solemn beauty.

Troughout Theodora, soprano Louise Alder shone in the title role, providing a deeply gratifying take on Theodora. Her vocal art expressed her character in luminous manner, resulting in a ravishing performance.

Mezzo-soprano Anna Stéphany’s portrayal of Irene was yet another highlight. Her sublime voice had an enchanting effect upon the listener.

The second act opens with the Roman festival. The chorus sings praises to nature and summer, Venus’ manifestation. Here, Handel’s choral writing flourishes in wondrous counterpoint.

As Septimus allows his friend Didymus to pay a visit to Theodora in her imprisonment, the music takes an intimate turn. Handel scores the meeting of the two with moments of ravishing subtlety as well as heated intensity. Theodora pleads Didymus to wield his sword and end her suffering. Didymus protests, and in the end Theodora agrees to flee, while Didymus is left imprisoned.

Irene and the chorus conclude the second act with a reflection of the miracle of the Widow of Nain from the Gospel of Luke. Another gorgeous setting by Handel, the act closes with a vision of Heaven.

As customary nowadays, there was only one intermission, placed in the middle of the second act, after the second scene, depicting Theodora alone in her captivity. In terms of both music and drama, this was a functional solution.

The third act brings together all the charactes for the final trial and resolution. Theodora and Didymus accept death by Roman law as a consequence of their unwavering faith. The chorus of Romans marvel at their unshaken determination. Following a moving final duet between Theodora and Didymus, the oratorio ends with a comforting final chorus, celebrating divine love as an inspiration to the soul.

As a whole, the Arcangelo performance of Theodora was most rewarding one. With soaring intensity, the listener was completely immersed in the performance on a very personal, intimate level. This was a Theodora with lasting effect.

 

Arcangelo

Jonathan Cohen, harpsichord and conductor

 

George Frideric Handel: Theodora – Oratorio in three parts, HWV 68 (1749)

 

Louise Alder, soprano (Theodora)

Anna Stéphany, mezzo-soprano (Irene)

Tim Mead, countertenor (Didymus)

Jeremy Ovenden, tenor (Septimus)

Neal Davies, bass (Valens)

 

Konzerthaus, Vienna

Saturday 18 January, 6.30 pm

© Jari Kallio

Photos © Wiener Konzerthaus / Lukas Beck (concert), © Arcangelo / Julian Forbes (rehearsal)

A once-in-a-lifetime experience – John Williams and the Wiener Philharmoniker at Musikverein

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As John Williams, the grand old man of Hollywood, walked onstage at the venerable Vienna Musikverein to conduct the Wiener Philharmoniker on Saturday afternoon, there was history in the making.

The concert, and its reprise on Sunday, was an eagerly awaited affair for countless film music fans throughout Europe. The Maestro’s first concert appearances on this side of the Atlantic ever since the mid-1990s, both events were sold out within a couple of minutes.

In the fall of 2018, Williams was forced to cancel his appearances to conduct both the London Symphony Orchestra and the Wiener Philharmoniker, due illness. Now, however, Williams was there, in perfect health and good-spirited, with a splendid programme, featuring some of his best-loved classics, alongside intriguing rarities.

As a special guest, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter shared the stage with the Maestro and the orchestra, performing several pieces arranged especially for her by Williams, for an album collaboration, released last year by Deutsche Grammophon.

As soon as Williams was taking his first steps towards the podium, the audience greeted him with joyous cheers and a spontaneous standing ovation, one of many in the course of the outstanding evening.

For Williams himself, a chance to conduct the Wiener Philharmoniker in its glorious Musikverein home, has been a lifelong dream. Throughout the evening, one could sense each and every person in the hall, either onstage making music or in the hall listening, being deeply moved by the occasion.

On a purely musical level, the chance to hear Williams’ music, the embodiment of Hollywood tradition at the highest level, brought back to its Central European roots with the Viennese, was something profoundly inspiring. For Williams’ symphonic music has its roots in the Hollywood Golden Era tradition, originally shaped by European emigrée composers, including Viennese talents Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

As an opening piece, Flight to Neverland from the 1991 Steven Spelberg film Hook was heard. The rousing concert adaptation is an amalgam of a prologue, originally written to underscore the film’s trailer, alongside the initial music for the flight scene. One of Williams’ finest concert adaptations, Flight to Neverland was given an astounding performance, one clad in gorgeous Viennese sound.

As a stark contrast, music for another Spielberg film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) ensued. Unlike the sweeping fairy-tale atmosphere of Hook, the score for Close Encounters features various experimental techniques, originating in postwar modernism and minimalism. However, there is a more lyrical side found in the score, with its marvellous quotation of When You Wish upon a Star.

For the ten minute concert piece, Williams reworked his material into an orchestral fantasia. Fusing together the key motives from the original score, the concert piece, titled simply as Excerpts, never fails to allure the listener into its realm of mystery. With the composer at the helm of the Wiener Philharmoniker, the music was brought to life with irresistable magic.

Observing Williams’ conducting technique at close distance is a pleasure in itself. Rooted in his lifetime experience of working in a recording studio, under pressing schedule, Williams has developed a podium style devoid of all unnecessary fuss and mannerism. With his clear-cut technique, Williams provides his musicians with all the info and support needed for a top-class performance.

For a soloist, Williams is a reliable partner, as was demonstrated by the sequence of four tailor-made arrangements for violin and orchestra performed with Mutter. In its new guise, the much-played Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) comes out afresh, with the solo violin admirably enhancing the magical appeal inherent in the music.

As a romantic interlude, Theme from Sabrina (1995) was heard. As the 1990s film itself is a remake of the 1954 classic, Williams’ score harks back to vintage Hollywood, resulting in ravishing sonorities.

With its delightful Irish flavor, Donnybrook Fair, a scherzo-like cue from Far and Away (1992), sits well with the violin, resulting in upbeat dance for the soloist and the orchestra.

Closing the cycle, the mischievous Devil’s Dance from Witches of Eastwick (1987) was heard. Conceived as a trickster danse macabre, the piece is a stunning concert item, providing the orchestra and the soloist with rhythmic and textural challenges.

Mutter’s performances of these pieces were pure delight. Perfectly in accord with their soloist, Williams and the orchestra provided her with ideal support. Seemingly enjoying their collaboration, Mutter and Williams were a team made in heaven.

In a concert setting, film music is often repserented with cues underscoring the film titles. In order to do full justice to the craft of film composing, it is fundamental to perform actual film cues in their original, unedited guise. In this way, the listener is able to fully cherish all those carefully timed transitions in mood, texture and instrumentation.

In this respect, Adventures of Earth, a ten-minute unedited presentation of the music written for the final reel of E.T. (1982) is a most welcome addition to any film music programme. As Williams put it in his spoken introduction, a chance to hear the music without the distraction of the film, is something special.

The cue depicts the film’s final chase leading to E.T.’s departure, concluding with the spaceship lifting off. Opening with fast music for strings, the cue builds up to a tumult for full orchestra before cooling down for those touching moments of farewell. The music closes with a ravishing orchestral climax to accompany E.T.’s journey home.

At Musikverein, Adventures on Earth provided perfect closing for the first half of the programme. Clad in tremendous Viennese garb, Williams’ music vibrated with uplifting orchestral energy, to a stunning effect.

The second half opened with another masterpiece, Williams’ concert arrangement from Jurassic Park (1993). Concieved as a classical overture, with slow introduction, the music begins with a haunting horn solo, a summoning call, echoed by distant answer. The strings join, with their solemn melody, leading to a workout for full orchestra.

With glorious trumpet call, the music picks up speed, as the brass section is unleashed in its resounding majesty. A case in point of Williams’ impeccable craft, the music is wonderfully orchestrated, with each instrumental group shining with splendour.

Perfect vehicle for an outstanding orchestra, Theme from Jurassic Park set the second half into soaring motion, greeted with another standing ovation by the audience.

Dartmoor, 1912, an extended opening cue from the film War Horse (2011), is Williams’ homage to Ralph Vaughan Williams. Featuring solo flute, the music echoes the unique real of the English folksong. An atmospheric introduction for flute sets the music in motion. The orchestra joins, and the music grows into a vivid pastoral tableau. On the closing pages, the solo flute reappears, bringing the cue to its tranquil close.

At Musikverein, Dartmoor, 1912 was played with utmost beauty. Pastoral images of mist-covered fields arose, as the opening section gradually unraveled. Aptly paced, the fast middle section was a feast of orchestral splendour.

One of the most admirable traits of Williams’ craft is his seemingly effortless ability to incorporate classical forms into film cues. In this respect, Out to Sea / Shark Cage Fugue from Jaws (1975) is a case in point. Following a deceptively carefree introduction, a grippping fugue ensues. Splendidly orchestrated, the fugue is a breathtaking journey into darkness. Performed with admirable clarity and riveting intensity, The Shark Cage Fugue was a real thriller.

Marion’s Theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) is based on original material from the film, with a new middle section, the concert version first appeared on a 2017 studio album, celebrating the Spielberg / Williams collaboration. A nod to Hollywood romance, Marion’s Theme is an instantly appealing piece, performed with charm and delicacy by the orchestra.

As a conclusion, three selections from the Star Wars saga was heard. The most recent Williams piece of the programme, Rebellion is Reborn from The Last Jedi (2017), offered a fascinating glimpse of the composer’s current style. The concert arrangement brings together key themes from the new trilogy into a life-affirming anthem. Here Williams’ scoring is at its finest, with characteristically exquisite brass writing.

Luke and Leia from The Return of the Jedi (1983) portrays both the Skywalker siblings, and the actors behind the roles, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, in a touching manner.

Probably the most iconic John Williams piece, Main Title from Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) is a rousing overture, combining the opening fanfare accompanying the film’s trademark title crawl, and the music written for the end titles.

With the fabulous musicians of the Wiener Philharmoniker, the Star Wars pieces shone out in awesome orchestral garb. Lush textures, enhanced by the sheer depth of the Viennese sound, made the Golden Hall reverberate with splendour.

Following the programme proper, no less than five encores were played. Anne-Sophie Mutter returned the stage to play the solo parts of the first three.

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As her first encore, Mutter played a rarity, Nice to Be Around from the 1973 film Cinderella Liberty. A less-known little gem, the piece bears charming intimacy.

The Duel from The Adventures of Tintin (2011) provided Williams a chance to contribute to the Hollywood Swashbuckling tradition. In genuinely Korngoldian manner, the music takes the form of a ballet, with irregular accents coinciding with the on-screen fencing. Rescored for violin and orchestra, The Duel is an excellent virtuoso piece, performed with wit and dexterity by Mutter and the orchestra, with the composer at the helm.

In addition to the whirlwind of a performance, there was some impromptu fencing at play too, as Williams and Mutter jokingly clashed their baton and bow together during the applause.

As a meditative interlude, Remembrances from Schindler’s List (1993) ensued. Written for Itzhak Perlman, who performed on the original soundtrack, Remembrances is a touching contemplation, performed with subtlety by Mutter and the orchestra.

Following her solo pieces, Mutter joined the first violin section for a splendid perfromance of The Raiders March (1981), a must item for any Williams concert. Lauded with wild cheers and a long standing ovation, it was the happiest affair imaginable. Yet, there was one more piece to come.

Finally, after almost three hours, the orchestra and Williams landed on the very last encore. The opening bars of The Imperial March, the musical personification of Darth Vader, first heard in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), were lost in the thunderous roar of the Musikverein audience. After the powerhouse performance, the hall simply went berserk, an unparalleled experience in a concert hall.

A concert like no other, there was a profound sense of community in the air. With performances at the highest level, conducted by the composer, and a devoted audience fully immersed in the music, this was an once-in-a-lifetime celebration of a shared musical love.

 

Wiener Philharmoniker

John Williams, conductor

 

Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin

 

John Williams: Flight to Neverland from Hook (1991)

John Williams: Excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

John Wiiliams: Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001/2019)

John Williams: Theme from Sabrina (1995/2019)

John Williams: Donnybrook Fair from Far and Away (1992/2019)

John Williams: Devil’s Dance from The Witches of Eastwick (1987/2019)

John Williams: Adventures on Earth from E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

John Williams: Theme from Jurassic Park (1993)

John Williams: Dartmoor, 1912 from War Horse (2011)

John Williams: Out to Sea / Shark Cafe Fugue from Jaws (1975)

John Williams: Marion’s Theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981/2017)

John Williams: The Rebellion is Reborn from The Last Jedi (2017)

John Williams: Luke and Leia from The Return of the Jedi (1983)

John Williams: Main Title from Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

John Williams: Nice to Be Around from Cinderella Liberty (1973/2019)

John Williams: The Duel from The Adventures of Tintin (2011/2019)

John Williams: Remembrances from Schindler’s List (1993)

John Williams: Raiders March from Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

John Williams: The Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

 

Musikverein, Vienna

Saturday 18 January 2020, 3.30 pm

 

© Jari Kallio

Photos © Terry Linke / Deutsche Grammophon