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CARNEGIE HALL PRESENTS

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Friday, February 15, 2019 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
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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: International Festival of Orchestras II and Carnegie Hall Live on WQXR

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is also performing February 14.

Pierre-Laurent Aimard is also performing October 25.

Performers

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

Program

GUILLAUME CONNESSON Eiréné (NY Premiere)

BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor"

R. STRAUSS Ein Heldenleben


Encore:

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.

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.

Bios

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) is one of the best orchestras in the world, known for its stylistic flexibility and unique sound. The exceptional acoustics of the Concertgebouw play  ...

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) is one of the best orchestras in the world, known for its stylistic flexibility and unique sound. The exceptional acoustics of the Concertgebouw play an important role, as does the quality of the musicians and the influence of its chief conductors, of whom there have been only seven since the orchestra was founded in 1888: Willem Kes (1888–1895), Willem Mengelberg (1895–1945), Eduard van Beinum (1945–1959), Bernard Haitink (1961–1988), Riccardo Chailly (1988–2004), Mariss Jansons (2004–2015), and Daniele Gatti (2016–2018). Leading composers such as Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss conducted the orchestra on more than one occasion. The orchestra continues to collaborate with composers and contributes to the creation of new repertoire by regularly commissioning works.

In addition to some 90 concerts performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra gives 40 concerts at leading halls around the world each year. The orchestra has made more than 1,100 audio and video recordings to date, many of which have won international distinctions. The orchestra has its own in-house label—RCO Live—and helps develop talent through the RCO Academy, collaborating with other institutions and organizing master classes.

Between 2016 and 2018, the RCO visited all 28 member states of the European Union, performing one work together with a local youth orchestra in each EU country (RCO Meets Europe: Side by Side).

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Daniel Harding

Daniel Harding made his professional conducting debut in 1994 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, serving as assistant to Sir Simon Rattle that season. The following season, he ...

Daniel Harding made his professional conducting debut in 1994 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, serving as assistant to Sir Simon Rattle that season. The following season, he was assistant to Claudio Abbado with the Berliner Philharmoniker.

Mr. Harding holds positions as music director of the Orchestre de Paris (since September 2016) and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra (since 2007); artistic director of Ohga Hall in Karuizawa, Japan; and conductor laureate of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. He makes regular guest appearances with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Berliner Philharmoniker, London Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Harding has led opera productions at La Scala in Milan, the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, the Royal Opera House in London, Vienna State Opera, and Bayerische Staatsoper. The French government has bestowed upon him the rank of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Since his first performance with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in January 2004—which featured works by Britten, Thomas Adès, and Lutosławski—Mr. Harding has returned to the orchestra a number of times, conducting in Amsterdam and on various tours. He led the orchestra in works by Bach and Brahms’s Third Symphony in March 2016.

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Pierre-Laurent Aimard

Pierre-Laurent Aimard is respected throughout the world as a first-rate interpreter of piano music and a leading advocate for contemporary music, both in the concert hall and on the basis ...

Pierre-Laurent Aimard is respected throughout the world as a first-rate interpreter of piano music and a leading advocate for contemporary music, both in the concert hall and on the basis of his impressive discography. In recognition of his musical achievements, he was awarded the prestigious Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 2017.

Born in Lyon in 1957, Mr. Aimard studied with Yvonne Loriod at the Paris Conservatoire and with Maria Curcio in London. At the age of 16, he won the 1973 Olivier Messiaen Competition, and just three years later was invited by Pierre Boulez to be the solo pianist with Ensemble Intercontemporain. Mr. Aimard forged close ties not only with Boulez, but with many other composers, including Kurtág, Stockhausen, Carter, and Ligeti, whose piano music he has promoted at explorethescore.org since 2015.

In addition to his career as a concert artist, Mr. Aimard is an inspiring teacher at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne, and presents numerous other lectures and workshops.

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is delighted to collaborate with Mr. Aimard, who serves as artist-in-residence in the 2018–2019 season. He made his first appearance with the orchestra in 1987 and has returned frequently since 1995. Most recently, in September 2012, he gave an awe-inspiring performance of Le désenchantement du monde, composed by his compatriot Tristan Murail.

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