Symphony concert 12

July 7, 2019
11 a.m.
Kölner Philharmonie

Anton Webern

Six pieces for grand orchestra op. 6 (1909)

Alfred Schnittke

Concerto for viola and orchestra (1985)

Richard Strauss

»An Alpine Symphony« op. 64 (1899-1915)

In his Orchestra Pieces, Op. 6 from 1909, Anton Webern exceeds all bounds. The gigantic »sound apparatus« is both softer and louder, more delicate and more brutal than had been known until then. And the good old major / minor tonality has played out for good – a scandal which found an appropriate forum at the legendary Viennese »Skandalkonzert« in 1913. The »Alpine Symphony« by Richard Strauss also pushes the limits – not the limits of hearing, but those of human experience. Premiered in the fall of 1915 in Berlin, beyond the resounding trek of the piece itself it was a Nietzschean hymn to self-determined people who fight through the perils of life – Strauss did not yet know that the First World War and its consequences would plunge him into a bitter crisis himself. And finally the viola concerto by the Volga German Alfred Schnittke, composed at the border to death, which the composer with a weak heart touched numerous times. There is something at the same time voyeuristic and cathartic about being able to assist at Schnittke’s borderline experience, which will be presented by the British violist Lawrence Power. Nicholas Collon travels with the Gürzenich Orchestra to where the air is thin and the view is great.

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