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Dreams of a lifetime

March 10, 2020
8 p.m.
Kölner Philharmonie

Hector Berlioz

»Les Francs-Juges« Overture (1826)

Charles Ives

»Three Places in New England« (1914/29)

Hector Berlioz

»Harold en Italie« Symphony in four parts with obligatory viola (1834)

Preconcert talk one hour before the concert with Sabine Weber

In the prelude to his first opera Les Franc-Juges, of which only fragments survive, Hector Berlioz plays ingeniously with layers of time. Like an artful, contrapuntal collage, the musical actions get through to our ears simultaneously in places. Only later did Berlioz succeed as music dramatist, but he was already refining his theatrical techniques in his symphonic works, in which he stretched time and space. Thus, Harold en Italie is inspired equally by the pilgrimage of Childe Harold who, tired of his life of luxury, seeks diversion in foreign lands, as well as Berlioz’s personal experiences on walking tours in the Italian Abruzzo region. All this makes Berlioz a precursor to Charles Ives, who paints atmospheric images in his orchestral work Three Places in New England, in which the social ideals of American society at the turn of the century appear, as does idyllic nature. Folk songs enhance the panorama of these musical journeys. Sylvain Cambreling, the guest conductor, is not only one of the most prominent advocates of the modern repertoire but also a great Berlioz fan – a trait he has in common with the great violist Antoine Tamestit. 

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