Riccardo Muti has been one of the regular guest conductors of the Berlin Philharmonic since 1972. The recognised Mozart expert will open this concert with the Haffner Symphony, a work whose origin you can hear clearly in the serenade music of the same name. Other works on the program include excerpts from Ferruccio Busoni’s opulently orchestrated “Turandot” Suite and Richard Strauss’s symphonic fantasy “From Italy”, inspired by both impressionist and folklore music.
Symphony No. 35 in D major Haffner
Turandot Suite (Excerpts)
From Italy, Symphonic Fantasy
Riccardo Muti can spare nothing for extravagances like extreme rubati, exaggerated dynamic fluctuations and excessively slow tempi. Ultimately, the Italian maestro is known for his faithfulness to the original scores, and he is also considered a perfectionist on the podium. In his guest appearance with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the recognised Mozart expert, who recently extended his contract as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra until 2020, will turn to the Haffner Symphony – a work whose origin you can hear in the serenade music of the same name (“You will be surprised that you see only the first Allegro,” Mozart wrote to his father); the first and last movements are to be played – in Mozart’s words – “quite briskly”.
The programme continues with Ferruccio Busoni’s opulently orchestrated Turandot Suite; its iridescent exotic sound patterns perfectly illustrate Carlo Gozzi’s tragicomic fairy-tale play. Muti will complete the program with an homage to his home country: Richard Strauss’s symphonic fantasy From Italy. The impressionist third movement, “At the Beach of Sorrento”, is, in the composer’s words, “the soft music of nature as our inner ear hears it in the rustling of the wind in the leaves, in the song of the birds […], in the faraway murmuring of the ocean and the lonely song drifting over to the beach in a poetic, musical way”. The piece ends with a folkloristic humoresque that “intends to describe the lively hustle and bustle of Naples” – including a quote from Luigi Danza’s contemporary hit Funiculì, funiculà.