Programme Guide

Erich Wolfgang Korngold dedicated his Symphony in F-sharp Major to the “Memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt”. How did this come about? The composer thanked the country that had granted him asylum and made a professional future possible – with a captivating work characterised by Korngold’s astonishing use of the instruments and the expressive effect of his music. Shortly before the annexation of his Austrian homeland to the German Reich, the composer had fled to the USA, where he made an unprecedented career in Hollywood. So it’s no coincidence that the symphony sometimes brings to mind cinema seats and popcorn. Many themes and motifs come from Korngold’s film scores, including the score for The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) starring Errol Flynn and Bette Davis, the romantic sea adventure Captain Blood (1935) and the Oscar-winning music for the historical film Anthony Adverse (1936).

Before Korngold’s sumptuous symphony, Kirill Petrenko and the Berliner Philharmoniker, together with their 1st concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley as the soloist, present Mozart’s First Violin Concerto in B flat major, which is characterised by the grace and exuberance of the “galant style” that Mozart had come to know and appreciate through the works of Johann Christian Bach. The evening opened with the sparkling orchestral piece Unstuck by the American newcomer Andrew Norman, who the New Yorker has described as a “master of a uniquely dazzling and mercurial style”.

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