Musikfest Berlin

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam

Mariss Jansons Conductor

Leonidas Kavakos Violin

Johannes Brahms

Variations on a Theme by Haydn in B flat major

Wolfgang Rihm

Lichtes Spiel – Ein Sommerstück for violin and small orchestra

Richard Strauss

Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration)

Richard Strauss

Till Eulenspigel’s Merry Pranks

A Berliner Festspiele/Musikfest Berlin event

Dates and Tickets

Sat, 06 Sep 2014 8 p.m.

Philharmonie | Introduction: 7:00 pm


Richard Strauss tried early on to stem the need of his contemporaries to read into his works, by pointing out hard facts. For example, he emphatically rejected speculation on possible biographical motivations behind his tone poem Death and Transfiguration, which premiered in 1890 (The prediction of his own death from a serious illness? The death of a loved one?): “Death [and Transfiguration] is a pure product of the imagination – it is not based on experience. I only became ill two years later.” And when he was asked a good half century later if he had wanted to use musical means to express the metaphysics of humour in Till Eulenspiegel, the composer apparently answered: “Not at all – I just wanted the concert hall audience to have a really good laugh.”

The second half of the concert programme is dedicated to Strauss – the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam under conductor-in-chief Mariss Jansons will perform both works. The first half of the concert programme features Johannes Brahms’ Haydn Variations and music for violin and orchestra by Wolfgang Rihm. The latter’s title, Lichtes Spiel, portrays “a transparent, instrumental accompaniment […] something light but certainly no ‘lightweight’”, writes the composer. In fact, the demands Rihm makes of the soloists of his “Sommerstück”, composed in 2009, are in no way inferior to a virtuoso violin concert.


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