Alan Gilbert conducts landscape scenes by Mendelssohn and Nielsen

Alan Gilbert conducts landscape scenes by Mendelssohn and Nielsen

Berliner Philharmoniker
Alan Gilbert

  • Johann Sebastian Bach
    Cantata Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid BWV 58

    Christina Landshamer Soprano, Michael Nagy Baritone

  • Felix Mendelssohn
    Symphony No. 3 in A minor Scottish

  • Carl Nielsen
    Symphony No. 3 op. 27 Sinfonia espansiva

    Christina Landshamer Soprano, Michael Nagy Baritone

“Without any real purpose, just for my enjoyment,” Felix Mendelssohn travelled around the Scottish islands after a guest performance in London in 1829. Their wild nature, still to a large extent pristine, which Mendelssohn also recorded in drawings in his travel journal, and his encounter with evidence of Scottish history inspired the young composer to two of his best-known orchestral works. With his concert overture The Hebrides op. 26, Mendelssohn paid musical tribute to a group of islands off the northwest coast of Scotland; his visit to Edinburgh provided the impetus for him to compose his Third Symphony: “We went in the deep twilight to the palace where Queen Mary lived and loved,” Mendelssohn wrote to his parents on 30 July 1829. “The chapel next door is lacking a roof; grass and ivy grow abundantly on it; and before the altar, now in ruins, Mary was crowned Queen of Scotland. Everything around is broken and mouldering, and the bright sky shines through. I believe I found today the beginning of my Scottish Symphony.”

At his concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker this year, Alan Gilbert, music director of the New York Philharmonic, will combine this work by Mendelssohn with Symphony No. 3 by the Dane Carl Nielsen, premiered with the composer conducting in 1912. The work, which he gave the enigmatic title Sinfonia espansiva, is a perfect example of symphonic traditions beyond the German-speaking cultural sphere – and thus worth discovering time and again!

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