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Staatskapelle Berlin

Saturday, January 28, 2017 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony—a thrilling part of Carnegie Hall’s unprecedented cycle of the master’s symphonies—is a massive work that journeys from the depths of darkness to heroic heights. As in many of his symphonies, Bruckner opens his Eighth in a mist from which magnificently sonorous themes immerge. There’s tremendous power in the ensuing Scherzo, while the Adagio is heart-rending poetry that Bruckner considered his finest creation. With its huge brass chorales and unforgettable timpani solo, the finale is a masterpiece of Wagnerian sonorities and surging intensity. Composer Hugo Wolf called the symphony, “the creation of a giant, surpassing in spiritual dimension and magnitude all the other symphonies of the master.” Hear it and you will agree.

Daniel Barenboim's performances with the Staatskapelle Berlin mark the 60th anniversary of his Carnegie Hall debut on January 20, 1957.


Staatskapelle Berlin
Daniel Barenboim, Music Director and Conductor


BRUCKNER Symphony No. 8

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 80 minutes with no intermission.

At a Glance

Anton Bruckner is perhaps the most misunderstood of the great symphonists. In his own day, he confused both his supporters—leading them to undertake extensive editing of his works to make them conform better to contemporary norms—and his detractors, among them the redoubtable Viennese critic Eduard Hanslick, who savaged most of his symphonies at their premieres. In our own day, too many concertgoers react to him with incomprehension and boredom.

Labeled by his contemporaries "the Wagner symphonist," Bruckner actually wrote symphonies that are anything but the Romantic/Wagnerian celebration of self. Instead, they are spiritual quests and homages to God, in whom he fervently believed and whom he sought to glorify in his music. "Each of his symphonies is in reality one gigantic arch that starts on earth in the midst of suffering humanity, sweeps up toward the heavens to the very Throne of Grace, and returns to earth with a message of peace," writes biographer Hans-Hubert Schönzeler.

Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin give us the unprecedented opportunity to experience all nine of these magnificent symphonies over an 11-day span—both the ones we may know well and those we rarely encounter. Tonight, we encounter the Eighth, the longest, most mystical, and most transporting of his symphonies.

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