The Valley of the Rhine
When
Friday, 20 March 2020
From 19:00until approximately 21:30
Where
Pécs,
Pécs
Tickets
HUF 5,500 / 4,500 / 4,000 / 3,500
Buy ticket


The Valley of the Rhine

Ferencsik season ticket 5

Richard Wagner Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – prelude
Richard Strauss Vier letzte Lieder
***
Robert Schumann Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major (“Rhenish”), op. 97
Andrea Rost soprano
Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra
Zsolt Hamar conductor

It is a year of momentous change. Everything was being nationalised. In the mighty Soviet Union, Comrade Andrei Zhdanov had read out the names of the sinners at a plenary session of the Supreme Soviet: Shostakovich and Prokofiev… had succumbed to bourgeois tastes. In the West, impatient young composers considered everyone who had gone before to be obsolete. Only Anton Webern, who had died three years previously, merited a good word. Across the Atlantic, John Cage was composing works for prepared piano.

The year is 1948. But an elderly Bavarian gentleman seems not to have noticed any of this. Unwavering, he believes that music should sound beautiful. Richard Strauss had outlived Webern, Bartók and Alban Berg. Living well into old age. When a female reporter asked him what his plans were, he answered, “Well, to die.” But death was still a few months away. He was engaged with writing lieder. He wrote three of them to the poems of his contemporary Hermann Hesse, the fourth to the 19th-century poet Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff. They address themes of passing on, in an irretrievably reactionary musical language. “Post-Romanticism!” scoffed the youngsters. Or was the ageing composer looking further ahead? One musicologist has used a superb expression to describe the style that Strauss pursued, for the most part, after Der Rosenkavalier: “premature postmodernism”. That’s right! One no longer needs to blush for liking it… And we can all be delighted that it will be Andrea Rost singing Vier letzte Lieder, as the pieces were termed after the composer’s death in 1949. With some music from Wagner beforehand, and by Schumann afterwards. The overture to Meistersinger and then the Rhenish Symphony. Could one ask for anything better? This will be plenty for anyone for one night.