BSO Concert Hall 2 hours

Overview

Strauss had an extraordinary knack when it came to figuring out how to begin pieces. In Also Sprach Zarathustra he begins with the famous orchestral sunrise referring to the part in Nietzsche’s book when Zarathustra, an ancient Persian prophet who has dwelled on a mountaintop for ten years, watches a new day begin. It was not Strauss’ intention to write philosophical music or to portray Nietzsche’s great work in musical terms, but rather was meant to suggest the evolution of the human race from its origins, through its various phases of development (religious and scientific), right up to Nietzsche’s idea of the ‘superhuman’.

Where Nietzsche employed resonant symbols, parables, and wordplay, Strauss achieves something comparable in purely musicalterms, eliciting a sense of what is at stake by manipulating key relationships, as well as through his phenomenal technique of orchestration. The influence of Mozart is apparent throughout Beethoven’s C Major Piano Concerto. The piano’s role ornaments the orchestral material, but the broad artistic expressiveness shows Beethoven’s embrace of the emerging Romantic mood of the day. The Third Leonore Overture stands as one of the great emblems of the heroic Beethoven, a potent and controlled musical embodiment of a noble humanistic passion. Too strong and big a piece, with music of rapturous, fiery energy as well as profound darkness, it was always going to be more than a mere introduction.

Ticket Information

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