Probably no other German composer embodies the essence of musical Romanticism as perfectly as Robert Schumann. This is evident in his emotional, sometimes unstable character as much as in his works. Simon Rattle conducts two of these in this concert: the “Rhenish” Symphony and the Overture to Genoveva.
In a highly artistic distillation, Schumannʼs Third Symphony reflects the restless spirit of this age: a hopeful enthusiasm, but with repeated flashes of disturbance and depression. And the typical contemporary nostalgia for better times can also be found here in the archaic fourth movement, entitled “Feierlich” (solemn), which at the same time forms a contrast as a warmly lit oasis of tranquility in the shimmering sweep of the symphony.
Like Schumannʼs only opera Genoveva, the works of Henri Dutilleux also lead a shadowy existence in the music scene. Unjustly so, as shown by his Correspondances for soprano and orchestra, premiered in 2003 by the Berliner Philharmoniker under Sir Simon Rattle. The soloist in this work, which can boast of an almost Romantic sense of tonal colour, is the versatile Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan – long familiar on the stage of the Berliner Philharmonie as a specialist in contemporary music.