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On Tour with Jakub Hrůša

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Elbphilharmonie: Großer SaalPlatz der Deutschen Einheit, Hamburg, 20457, Allemagne
Le jeudi 19 décembre 2019 at 20:00

“Never shall you ask me, nor trouble yourself to know, whence I journeyed, what my name is, or what my origin!” Setting this condition, the swan knight comes to the aid of the falsely accused Elsa and marries her. Wagner’s operatic fairy-tale “Lohengrin”, first performed in 1850, employs an innovative leitmotif technique. According to Nietzsche, its music is “blue, with an opiatic, narcotic effect”. When Max Bruch heard it for the first time, he exclaimed “Well I never!” in irritation. Bruch was equally irritated when he realised that he would probably “gradually be forgotten” – with the exception of his popular violin concerto. But if anyone dared to criticise any aspect of this work, he defended it as fiercely as a lioness her cubs. On our short tour of Germany, the celebrated Ray Chen will perform the solo part on his Stradivari.

Things were not always easy for Brahms, either. He was aware of the prestige the symphony had attained after Beethoven, whom he felt to be “a giant marching behind him”. Brahms laboured over the genre for over 14 years. The spell was finally broken in 1876 when his first symphony achieved success, with critics calling him “Beethoven’s successor”. From darkness to light – “per aspera ad astra”: that is the journey the music makes in Brahms’s symphony, shifting from a gloomy C minor to a shining C major in the final movement. This last movement contains a melody that Brahms had heard in the Alps, a highly effective brass chorale and a hymn-like main theme. When someone commented that this theme was strangely reminiscent of his great role model’s “Götterfunken” theme, Brahms retorted ironically: “Yes indeed, and what is even stranger is that every fool hears it immediately.”

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