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Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Friday, February 15, 2019 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Daniel Harding by Julian Hargreaves, Pierre-Laurent Aimard by Marco Borggreve
Beethoven and Strauss explore the heroic. Beethoven’s titanic spirit is at the core of the “Emperor” Concerto, a grand work where master symphonist and piano virtuoso are joined. Strauss tells the story of a “great man” in his lavishly scored Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life). He never called his piece autobiographical, but there are passages alluding to his earlier music. There is also some of the finest battle music ever written—a show-stopping sequence where the hero clashes with his critics that raised the bar for film composers into the next century and beyond.

Part of: Carnegie Hall Live on WQXR

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is also performing February 14.

Pierre-Laurent Aimard is also performing October 25.


Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Daniel Harding, Conductor
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Piano



BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor"

R. STRAUSS Ein Heldenleben


R. STRAUSS Scherzo and Trio from Piano Sonata in B Minor, Op. 5

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.
National Endowment for the Arts: arts.gov

Public support for Carnegie Hall Live on WQXR is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

At a Glance

The three works on this program depict gods and heroes. Beethoven’s “Emperor” is the most imperious and virtuosic of his five piano concertos, though it also has one of his most hymn-like slow movements. Many regard it as a forerunner of the Romantic concerto, citing the surge of sound and color as well as the piano’s tendency to heroically compete with the orchestra rather than merely blend with it. In Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben, the hero is the composer himself in a retrospective of his past battles, loves, and achievements. A spectacular battle sequence displays the full brilliance of a modern symphony orchestra and serves as a progenitor of numerous war scenes in movie scores. The love scene—a workout for the concertmaster—is a mini–violin concerto, and the ending rivals the opening of Also sprach Zarathustra for power and grandeur. The opening work, a new piece by Guillaume Connesson, is by contrast a gentle nocturne that depicts Eirene, the Greek goddess of peace, displaying the orchestra’s capacity for delicacy and hushed contemplation.

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