Schubert: Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, D. 485
Im Abendrot (arr./orch. Reger)
Die Forelle (arr./orch. Britten)
Nacht und Träume (arr./orch. Reger)
Erlkönig (arr./orch. Berlioz)
Mahler: Symphony No. 4
Conductor: Christoph Poppen
This superb German soprano is in huge demand globally, not just as an opera singer but also as a concert and lieder artist. As a student of Brigitte Fassbaender, she made her stage debut as Pamina at the Berlin Komische Oper (1989) and won first prize at the 1993 International Franz Schubert Competition. Last season, Banse performed at the New York Metropolitan Opera amongst other venues, and is a welcome figure to Budapest concert audiences because she recently performed in Hungary to celebrate György Kurtág's 90th birthday. On this occasion, Juliane Banse will be singing the solo part in Mahler's symphony, with her husband conducting.
Born in Münster, his first decades as a professional musician were spent as an internationally renowned violinist. He was a student of Nathan Milstein and a founder of the Cherubini Quartet, acknowledged as a supreme exponent of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and contemporary violin works. Since 1989, Poppen has devoted more of his time to conducting, working first with the Detmold Chamber Orchestra and then between 1995 and 2006, as the principal conductor and artistic director of the Munich Chamber Orchestra. From 2006 to 2011, he directed the German Radio Symphony Orchestra. Christopher Poppen will be celebrating his sixtieth birthday on the day of this concert, and has also forged an impressive career as a teacher, as director of the Hanns Eisler Conservatoire in Berlin and as the Munich professor of the violin and chamber music faculties.
Concerto Budapest is one of Hungary’s leading orchestras, with its rich history and dynamism of its young musicians. Through its ambitious and innovative programs and special sound, it has brought a new colour to Hungary’s musical palette. In the past few years, they have been invited to the leading concert halls of Europe, the United States and the Far East. Among returning guests of Concerto Budapest, we find distinguished names such as Gidon Kremer, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Heinz Holliger, Isabelle Faust, James Galway and Evgeni Koroliov.
Since 2007, their chief conductor and artistic director has been András Keller. He founded the Keller Quartet and is a world-renowned solo artist, concert master and chamber musician. Besides winning numerous international prizes, he was awarded the Hungarian Franz Liszt and Bartók-Pásztory Prizes and also the “Artist of Merit” award.
Franz Schubert: Symphony no. 5 in B flat major
Franz Schubert was just 19 years old in September 1816 when he set about writing his fifth symphony. He completed it on October 3rd that same year, and it is now established as the most popular of his early symphonies. It was given its premiere in the house of one of the violinists in the Burgtheater, Otto Hartwig. The influence of Mozart and Haydn is unmistakable, and the G minor tonality of the third movement Menuetto is a clear nod to Mozart's great G minor symphony. But the discipline he observed and learnt from his classical models, combined with Schubert's own individual melodic inventiveness resulted in a sprightly masterpiece with its very own character – even though it is still some distance from Schubert's mature style.
Franz Schubert: Lieder
Schubert was never to hear his songs that address the poetry of death with orchestral accompaniment, although these versions are particularly worthy of our attention since they were prepared by instrumental composers of the commitment and skill of Berlioz, Reger and Britten. Im Abendrot interprets the fragility of existence in the cosmos; Karl Gottlieb Lappe's verse is in truth a bitter-sweet ode. The vocal line of the hugely popular Die Forelle with its evocation of folk song is constructed over deft instrumental tone painting. Nacht und Träume is a meditation on night and dreams, revealing the excitement and mystery of transitory darkness which articulates out existence, while the moving drama of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Erlkönig presents an unforgettable image of the father on horseback with his sick child.
Gustav Mahler: Symphony no. 4 in G major
Following his monumental symphonies second and third symphonies, in this work Mahler visibly seems to return to the classical tradition of the symphonic genre. The first movement progresses in sonata form. The second movement is an unambiguous dance like scherzo, although the prominent role given to a specially tuned first violin creates a kind of idyllic dance of death. The third Andante movement is again a homage to tradition: the slow movement with its peace from beyond the grave sees Mahler varying a major and a minor theme in the spirit of the Viennese masters. In the final movement, the moods and thematic details of the previous movements find new expression both instrumentally and in words, as we hear the voice of a child dreaming about the life of angels.