Symphonies and concertos are among genres which follow apparently unalterable models, where themes and keys form a musical architecture based on strict rules. That this does not have to be the case is shown in this concert with Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle. The programme includes works which in a partly playful and partly innovative manner, push the limits of the traditional forms: Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 99, the Great C major Symphony by Franz Schubert and – in a premiere – a horn concerto by Toshio Hosokawa.
Simon Rattle once described Haydn’s treatment of the symphonic form as, “a wonderful mixture of the joy of playing and of surprise. As a conductor, you try to take charge of it, but then suddenly you find it has taken you unawares yet again. For audiences too, it is both a witty and uncommonly intelligent experience to enter this maze.” Schubert’s final symphony is also rich in unexpected surprises, but here, the effect is less humorously intended. When a theme or the musical structure disintegrates, when idyllic scenes descend crashing into catastrophe, Schubert mercilessly reflects the fragility of human life.
Hiroshima-born Toshio Hosokawa also finds a way to bring a new perspective to a handed-down compositional form. Moment of Blossoming is the subtitle of his new horn concerto – a reference to the mythically revered lotus flower of Hosokawa’s homeland, with a musical depiction of the flower blossoming in a lake. The soloist and dedicatee of this work is Stefan Dohr, solo horn player with the Berliner Philharmoniker since 1993.