Take a journey straight to the heart of the German Alps with the Bamberg Symphony, stars of this sumptuous gala dedicated to the music of Richard Strauss under the baton of the legendary Georges Prêtre. The evening begins with Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, a symphonic poem that lets us follow in the madcap footsteps of the folk hero whose story has been told and adapted since the 16th century.
Eulenspiegel's misadventures give way to Strauss at his most profound in the Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs), sung with careful restraint and introspection by Margaret Price. The soprano's resonant timbre imbues her rendition with a solemnity and grace befitting this majestic cycle composed in Strauss's final year, a deeply moving reflection of the equanimity with which he faced the end of his life.
Finally, Strauss conjures a fog over the German Alps that ultimately dissipates in the glorious sunrise that caps his richly evocative Alpine Symphony. This beloved symphonic poem, replete with imagery, transports us to the mountaintops for a day bookended by ineluctable night, showing us the landscapes near and dear to the composer, from picturesque calm to vertiginous danger.
Katharina Thoma (stage director), Vladimir Jurowski (conductor) – With Soile Isokoski (Ariadne)...
Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Gulbenkian Choir