Concerto for orchestra
Symphony No. 1 in C minor
It would be too good to be true were there a video recording of the master course that Herbert von Karajan held in Leningrad in 1968. We could see how the great master, with his unerring instinct for talent, took notice of young Mariss Jansons and then invited him to study with him in Berlin. This was the beginning of a delightful connection between Jansons and the Berliner Philharmoniker that has lasted for many years. In 1971, Jansons led the orchestra at a competition; his official debut followed in 1976; since 1988, he has given guest performances here almost every year. Today he is regarded as an outstanding interpreter of the late romantic and early modern eras in particular; these also define this concert.
First of all, there’s Johannes Brahms’s First Symphony. Brahms’s completion of the work in 1876 was preceded by a 14-year struggle with it: Beethoven’s shadow was too imposing. Brahms, however, ultimately found his own masterful way. In his symphony there’s room for both the recourse to Beethoven and a forward-looking formal concept – with an introduction that already contains, in embryo, the symphony’s entire thematic material. Béla Bartók, whose Concerto for Orchestra we will hear on these evenings, was an admirer of Brahms.
Béla Bartók, whose Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta we will hear on these evenings, was an admirer of Brahms. Bartók wrote the work in 1936 for Paul Sacher and his chamber orchestra in Basle. It is considered one of the Hungarian composer’s most important works. Besides its unusual instrumentation, the composition captivates with an austere musical language, unusual rhythms picked up from folk music and a cheerful yet melancholy mood.