This concert presents two works renowned for their daring experiments in color. Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été—a set of nocturnal love songs—is the grandfather of the orchestral song cycle. Unlike his earlier and wilder Symphonie fantastique, it is consistently subtle and refined, sustaining a seductive nocturnal mood—though, like Symphonie fantastique, it is linked to the composer’s tumultuous love life. Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie, on the other hand, is a grandiose showpiece for a huge orchestra, the culmination of a tradition rather than the start of a new one. The composer’s final tone poem, it rivals the spectacular effects in Also sprach Zarathustra and Ein Heldenleben. In 22 vivid pieces of tone painting, the work depicts the exhilarating ascent and terrifying descent of a mountain climber through dark woods, sunny meadows, and a harrowing storm. Though written in two different centuries, both works are distinctly Romantic: Berlioz’s in its depiction of passion and longing, and Strauss’s in its extravagant lushness and grandeur.