Programme guide

The Concert funebre for solo violin and string orchestra by Karl Amadeus Hartmann was written as a direct reaction to Hitler’s annexation of Bohemia and Moravia. It is a moving work of lament and accusation, but also of cautious hope for a better future after the end of the war. “The intellectual and spiritual hopelessness of the period are contrasted with an expression of hope in the two chorales in the beginning and at the end,” according to the Munich-born composer, who spent the years of the Nazi dictatorship in “inner emigration”. This refers to the melody of the Bohemian Protestant Hussites quoted at the beginning, who once fiercely resisted religious and political appropriation by the Catholic Habsburgs. The concluding chorale, in turn, echoes the Russian revolutionary song “Unsterbliche Opfer, ihr sanket dahin”, with which Hartmann paid homage to his mentor Hermann Scherchen, a committed socialist. The soloist in this work is Patricia Kopatchinskaja, who is Artist in Residence in the 2021/22 season. 

The second work of the evening is Igor Stravinsky’s ballet music The Firebird, which has been one of the Russian’s most popular pieces since its triumphant premiere. Kirill Petrenko conducts the work, which, with vibrating string tremolos and harmonic glissandi, spreads a magical sound that is second to none.

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