For his first concert as Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris, Daniel Harding explores Schumann’s great dramatic work: Szenen aus Goethes Faust ("Scenes from Goethe’s Faust"). A powerfully Romantic fresco at the Philharmonie de Paris!
Since the 16th century, few figures have inspired artists as much as Doctor Faust, a true incarnation of the Romantic man. European poets, philosophers, and composers have been fascinated by the work often presented as Goethe’s magnum opus, with Spohr, Mendelssohn, Berlioz, Wagner, Liszt, and Schumann among them. Unlike his contemporaries Berlioz and Gounod, Schumann first set to music the hero's transfiguration rather than his terrestrial adventures. The composer's fascination with the work began in adolescence, and his initial idea to create an opera was eventually abandoned in favor of an oratorio which, after almost ten years of long pauses and periods of reflection, he completed in 1853. When a version of the finale scene was performed in Dresden in 1848, Schumann told Martin Gustav Nottebohm, “My greatest joy was to hear many people telling me that, thanks to my music, they had understood the poem for the very first time”.
Photo: Daniel Harding © William Beaucardet