Programme Guide

Igor Stravinsky drew on a colourful series of constantly changing models in the course of his long career. Within the German-Austrian tradition, Bach and Mozart interested him more than Beethoven, while he rejected Wagner. In this programme, François-Xavier Roth, who has performed a wide repertoire with the Berliner Philharmoniker since his debut in 2015, juxtaposes works by Stravinsky with an oboe concerto by Johann Sebastian Bach. The concert opens with the orchestral suite from Stravinsky’s ballet Le Baiser de la fée, based on a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen and conceived as a tribute to Tchaikovsky.

The instrument Bach originally wrote his A major concerto BWV 1055 for is unknown. However, the composer’s love of the oboe d’amore, newly introduced in his time, is shown by its use in numerous cantatas. The Philharmoniker’s principal oboist Albrecht Mayer, who performs the concerto here, has already enjoyed success with several Bach recordings.

As part of the orchestra’s focus on Stravinsky in the 2021/22 season, this concert features Petrushka, the third major work Stravinsky composed for the Ballets Russes in Paris in the 1910s, after The Firebird and Le Sacre du printemps. The ballet plot, which originates from the genre of the Russian folk tale, is set in the demi-monde of jugglers and showmen and tells how a puppeteer’s marionettes are transformed into living people at a fair. Stravinsky set this story to music with such rich colours and atmosphere that it conjures up a fascinating world of images even without stage choreography.

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