Rhapsody-Concerto for viola and orchestra
The Miraculous Mandarin (complete ballet music)
A Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin event in cooperation with the Berliner Festspiele/Musikfest Berlin
Introduction: 6:55 pm
Twentieth century Czech and Hungarian music is most certainly the theme of this Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin concert, and is conducted by their young and charismatic chief conductor Tugan Sokhiev. The programme’s centrepiece is a work by Béla Bartók which set off one of the largest theatre scandals of the 20th century at its world premiere in Cologne in 1926.
The loud whistles and booing that echoed through the auditorium of the Cologne opera house were not directed at Bartók’s music, however, but at the mystery novel style plot. The pantomime ballet The Miraculous Mandarin tells the story of the fate of three clients who are robbed and murdered by a group of pimps. Konrad Adenauer, at the time the mayor of the city of Cologne, banned the work from the repertoire immediately after the first performance.
Works by two Czech composers form delightful contrasts to this scandalous work: tribute is paid to Leoš Janáček – one of the most important composers at the interface of the 19th and the 20th centuries – in the form of a performance of his Sinfonietta, which premiered in the same year as Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin. The generation younger Bohuslav Martinů is represented with his Rhapsody for Viola and Orchestra from 1952. Ukrainian violist Maxim Rysanov features as the soloist in this sonorous composition that almost melancholically looks back on the traditions of musical Romanticism.