An der schönen blauen Donau (1867)
Four Walt Whitman Songs (1942–47)
Symphony No. 9 in E minor »From the New World« (1893)
Introduction one hour before the concert with Michael Struck-Schloen
When Johann Strauß performed his music in America on the occasion of Independence Day celebrations in 1872, he brought together an orchestra of 800 members in a Boston colosseum that could hold 30,000 spectators. Long before Antonín Dvořák sent dispatches “from the New World” with his 9th Symphony, the Europeans imported their stars “from the Old World”. In the mid-20th century, America became a safe haven for numerous Jewish artists, who, like Kurt Weill, took refuge there from persecution. In the four songs based on texts by Walt Whitman, Weill found a new tone – and emphatically formulated his protest against war. The star singer Thomas Hampson will perform this special song cycle, and will be accompanied by Emmanuel Tjeknavorian, debuting with this programme as conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra.