Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Part of: Carnegie Hall Live on WQXR
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Mariss Jansons, Chief Conductor
Diana Damrau, Soprano
R. STRAUSS Four Symphonic Interludes from Intermezzo
R. STRAUSS Four Last Songs
BRAHMS Symphony No. 4
BRAHMS Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G Minor (orchestrated by Albert Parlow)
Event DurationThe printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.
This performance is proudly supported by ICBC U.S. Region.
Public support for Carnegie Hall Live on WQXR is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.
In honor of the centenary of his birth, Carnegie Hall’s 2019–2020 season is dedicated to the memory of Isaac Stern in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to Carnegie Hall, arts advocacy, and the field of music.
At a Glance
The works on this program are mature masterpieces by two German masters who stood against the trends of their respective eras. Strauss’s Four Symphonic Interludes from Intermezzo are delightful orchestral moments from the composer’s most explicitly autobiographical opera, combining the lushness of his earlier work with a lighter, more crystalline aesthetic. His final period is represented by the Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs), his last testament and one of his most exquisite creations. Balancing serenity and melancholy, the songs project none of the darkness and terror found in other near-death works like Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony or Verdi’s Te Deum. In both the interludes and the songs, Strauss continues to resist the serialism and expressionism of the 20th century, proudly carrying the banner of the last Romantic.
Brahms’s resistance was to Wagnerism, and his was the banner of Viennese Classicism. The Fourth Symphony is an eloquent culmination of his aesthetic, with a sonata-form first movement, a noble, variation-form slow movement, an exciting scherzo, and a complex passacaglia—impeccable examples of Classical form shot through with melodies as lyrical and memorable as any Romantic.
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Soon after its founding by Eugen Jochum in 1949, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (BRSO) developed into an internationally renowned orchestra. Its fame has grown through the leadership of its chief conductors, who have included Rafael Kubelík, Sir Colin Davis, and Lorin Maazel. Mariss Jansons has been chief conductor since 2003.
In addition to a repertoire of classical and romantic oeuvres, the orchestra has a tradition of championing contemporary works, particularly in conjunction with Munich’s Musica Viva series, founded 1945 by Karl Amadeus Hartmann. From the start, the BRSO has fostered contemporary works by composers like Igor Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mauricio Kagel, Luciano Berio, and Péter Eötvös.
The orchestra’s artistic profile has been shaped by many renowned guest conductors who have included Carlos Kleiber, Otto Klemperer, Leonard Bernstein, Sir Georg Solti, and Carlo Maria Giulini. More recently, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Herbert Blomstedt, Daniel Harding, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Sir Simon Rattle, and Andris Nelsons have regularly led the orchestra.
The BRSO gives special attention to the encouragement of young musicians. The orchestra collaborates with the ARD International Music Competition, accompanying young musicians in the final rounds as well as the closing concert that features the prizewinners. Since October 2001, the Orchestra Academy of the BRSO has prepared young musicians for their careers, building a bridge between education and professional activity.
In addition to regular performances in Germany, concert tours have taken the BRSO to virtually every European country, as well as Asia and the Americas. In recent surveys of international music critics, the BRSO has been counted among the top 10 orchestras in the world. Most recently, the orchestra’s concerts with Zubin Mehta in Japan in November 2018 were ranked first by Japanese music critics on a list of the best concerts of the year.
With a great number of album releases on major labels and on Bavarian Broadcasting’s own label, BR-KLASSIK, the BRSO regularly receives national and international awards.
For more information, visit br-so.de.
Mariss Jansons is considered one of the most outstanding conductors of our time. The son of conductor Arvīds Jansons, he studied at the Leningrad Conservatory, in Vienna under Hans Swarowsky, and in Salzburg under Herbert von Karajan. In 1971, Yevgeny Mravinsky made Mr. Jansons his assistant with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, where he stayed on as a regular conductor until 1999.
Mr. Jansons has served as chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic (1979–2000), principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (1992–1997), and music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1997–2004). He works regularly with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and in 2016 conducted the famous New Year’s Concert in Vienna for the third time. Mr. Jansons has been chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus since 2003. From 2004 to 2015, he also assumed the post of chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He has appeared with the latter two ensembles in virtually every musical capital in the world. His numerous CD and DVD recordings with both orchestras have garnered many international prizes.
Mr. Janson’s list of accolades is long and mirrors his many achievements. He was honored with ECHO Klassik awards for Conductor of the Year in 2007 and 2011, and received the renowned Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 2013. He has also received the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, Latvian Medal of the Order of the Three Stars, German Federal Cross of Merit, Knighthood of the Order of the Netherlands Lion, and French Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres.
Mr. Jansons was honored in 2015 with Latvia’s Great Music Award for lifetime achievement. In 2017, he became the 104th winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Gold Medal. Both the Berliner Philharmoniker and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra granted him honorary membership in 2018. That same year, he received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize and the Salzburg Festival’s Festival Brooch with rubies, followed by the Herbert von Karajan Prize of the Salzburg Easter Festival in 2019. In October 2019, he received the Opus Klassik Award for lifetime achievement.
With her coloratura ability, outstanding artistic expression, and stylistic confidence, soprano Diana Damrau has sung her way to a firm place in the world’s leading opera houses, concert halls, and festivals, where she has been a fixture for more than 20 years.
In addition to the Bayerische Staatsoper, Ms. Damrau has forged close ties with the Metropolitan Opera; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Teatro alla Scala; Vienna State Opera; and Zurich Opera House.
Ms. Damrau records exclusively for Warner Classics / Erato. She has released numerous award-winning albums, such as Poesie (orchestral songs by Richard Strauss) and Forever (featuring highlights from operetta, film, and musicals), which were honored with ECHO Klassik awards in 2011 and 2014, respectively. Her album Meyerbeer: Grand Opera, dedicated to the works of Giacomo Meyerbeer, won her the 2018 Opus Klassik Award for Singer of the Year.
In the 2017–2018 season, Ms. Damrau toured Asia and Europe, interpreting Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch with tenor Jonas Kaufmann and pianist Helmut Deutsch. The live album was released by Warner/Erato. She toured a Verdi program, VERDIssimo, in Europe in the spring of 2018. She also made her debut in the title role in Maria Stuarda at the Zurich Opera House, performed the role of Violetta in a new production of La traviata at the Metropolitan Opera, and sang Ophélie in Hamlet at the Gran Teatre del Liceu and Deutsche Oper Berlin. She has recently served as artist-in-residence at the Barbican Centre in London.
In the 2019–2020 season, Ms. Damrau continues her fruitful collaboration with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Mariss Jansons, presenting Strauss’s Four Last Songs in European metropolises and at Carnegie Hall. In addition, she performs recitals with Sir Antonio Pappano, and makes returns to La Scala in Roméo et Juliette, Bayerische Staatsoper in I masnadieri, and the Metropolitan Opera in Maria Stuarda.