Performance Saturday, May 4, 2013 | 7:30 PM

Vienna: Window to Modernity

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
The finale of Renée Fleming's Perspectives series, Vienna: Window to Modernity is a thoughtful tribute to the time and place where the European musical tradition, under the influence of literary and visual arts, gave way to the 20th century.


  • Renée Fleming, Soprano and Host
  • Jeremy Denk, Piano
  • Emerson String Quartet
    ·· Eugene Drucker, Violin
    ·· Philip Setzer, Violin
    ·· Lawrence Dutton, Viola
    ·· David Finckel, Cello
  • Paul Neubauer, Viola
  • Colin Carr, Cello


  • R. STRAUSS Drei Lieder der Ophelia, Op. 67
  • BRAHMS Ophelia Lieder
  • SCHOENBERG Verklärte Nacht
  • WAGNER from Wesendonck Lieder, Op. 91
    (arr. Rudolf Leopold)
    ·· "Im Treibhaus"
    ·· "Träume"
  • BRAHMS Intermezzo in A Minor, Op. 118, No. 1
  • BRAHMS Intermezzo in A Major, Op. 118, No. 2
  • WEIGL from Five Songs for Soprano and String Quartet
    ·· "Trost"
    ·· "Regenlied"
  • WELLESZ "Mir scheint, das Angesicht der Welt verging," Op. 52, No. 5 from Sonnette der Elisabeth Barrett-Browning
  • WEBERN Drei Stücke, 1913
  • ZEISL “Der Mond steht da” from Mondbilder
  • ZEISL "Komm süsser Tod"
  • ZEISL "Gigerlette"
  • SCHOENBERG from Cabaret Songs
    ·· "Galathea"
    ·· "Gigerlette"

  • Encores:
  • TAUBER "I'm in love with Vienna"
  • R. STRAUSS "Morgen," Op. 27, No. 4
  • KORNGOLD "Frag mich oft" from Walzer aus Wien (after Johann Strauss II)


  • Renée Fleming

    One of the most beloved and celebrated musical ambassadors of our time, soprano Renée Fleming captivates audiences with her sumptuous voice, consummate artistry, and compelling stage presence. Known as "the people's diva" and winner of the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo, she continues to grace the world's greatest opera stages and concert halls, now extending her reach to include other musical forms and media.

    Ms. Fleming has been sought after on numerous distinguished occasions, from the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to the opening Olympic Committee Gala for the 2012 London Olympics. In January 2009, Ms. Fleming was featured in the televised We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial concert. Last June, in an historic first, Ms. Fleming sang on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in the Diamond Jubilee Concert for HM Queen Elizabeth II. Ms. Fleming has performed for the US Supreme Court and, in 2009, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Czech Republic's "Velvet Revolution" at the invitation of Václav Havel. An additional distinction came in 2008, when Ms. Fleming became the first woman in the 125-year history of the Metropolitan Opera to solo headline an opening night gala.

    Ms. Fleming was heard last summer in the title role of Arabella at the Opéra Bastille, under the baton of Philippe Jordan. In August, she was the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier in Munich, conducted by Constantin Trinks. At the Metropolitan Opera this fall, she sang Desdemona in Otello, conducted by Semyon Bychkov. Her concert calendar this year has included the gala opening of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's season, the inaugural concerts of Christian Thielemann as principal conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden, and the inaugural gala of Yannick Nézet-Séguin as music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Her 2012-2013 recital schedule includes Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Quito, Bogota, Guayaquil, Geneva, London, Paris, Vienna, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Taipei.

    Ms. Fleming won her fourth Grammy Award for her album Poèmes, featuring a collection of 20th-century French masterpieces. In February 2012, she received the Victoire d'Honneur, the highest award conveyed by Victoires de la Musique. In recent years, this 14-time Grammy-nominated artist has recorded a diverse range of music, from Strauss's Daphne, to the jazz album Haunted Heart, to the film soundtrack for The Lord of the Rings and Alexandre Desplat's theme song "Still Dream" for Rise of the Guardians. Among her numerous awards are the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, Sweden's Polar Music Prize, the Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, Honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music, and honorary doctorates from Carnegie Mellon University, Eastman School of Music, and The Juilliard School.

    Ms. Fleming is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of The Carnegie Hall Corporation and the Board of Sing for Hope. In 2010, she was named the first-ever creative consultant at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Visit for more information.

    More Info

  • Jeremy Denk

    Jeremy Denk has established himself as one of America's most thought-provoking, multifaceted, and compelling artists. He has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and London. He regularly gives recitals in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. This season includes a 13-city recital tour throughout the US, as well as a performance of Bach's complete set of six keyboard concertos in a single evening with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Upcoming engagements include tours with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony. Mr. Denk is known for his original and insightful writing on music, which has appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, and on the front page of The New York Times Book Review. He looks forward to performing and curating as artistic director of the 2014 Ojai Music Festival, for which he is also composing the libretto to a semi-satirical opera.

    In 2012, Mr. Denk made his debut as a Nonesuch Records artist with a pairing of masterpieces old and new: Beethoven's final Piano Sonata and György Ligeti's Etudes. The disc was named one of the best of 2012 by The New Yorker, NPR, and The Washington Post. Later this year, he will release a disc of the Goldberg Variations, a piece he described in the grip of infatuation as "a recipe for monotony and failure ... a fool's errand attempted by the greatest genius of all time." Mr. Denk has a long-standing attachment to the music of American visionary Charles Ives; his recording of the composer's two piano sonatas was selected for many "best of the year" lists. Last season, he was invited by Michael Tilson Thomas to appear as a soloist in the San Francisco Symphony's American Mavericks festival, and he recorded Henry Cowell's Piano Concerto with the orchestra. Mr. Denk has also cultivated relationships with many living composers, and has several commissioning projects currently in progress.

    Mr. Denk has toured frequently with violinist Joshua Bell, and their album French Impressions was recently released on the Sony Classical label, winning the 2012 ECHO Klassik award. He also regularly collaborates with cellist Steven Isserlis. Mr. Denk has appeared at numerous festivals, including the Italian and American Spoleto festivals, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music, Verbier, Ravinia, Tanglewood, Aspen, and Mostly Mozart festivals. His website think denk-recounting his experiences of touring, performing, and practicing--was recently selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress Web Archives. He lives in New York City.

    More Info

  • Emerson String Quartet

    The Emerson String Quartet stands alone in the history of string quartets with an unparalleled list of achievements over three decades: more than 30 acclaimed recordings since 1987; nine Grammy Awards (including two for Best Classical Album-an unprecedented honor for a chamber music group); three Gramophone Awards; and cycles of the complete Beethoven, Bartók, Mendelssohn, and Shostakovich string quartets in the world's musical capitals. The quartet has collaborated in concerts and on recordings with some of the greatest artists of our time. In 2000, the Emerson was named Ensemble of the Year by Musical America and in March 2004 became the 18th recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize.

    In March 2011, Sony Classical announced an exclusive agreement with the Emerson String Quartet. The quartet's debut album for the label was released in October 2011 to coincide with a series of concerts at Wigmore Hall in London and Alice Tully Hall in New York City. In June 2012, the Emerson embarked on its first tour of China, which included sold-out performances in Shenzhen, Tianjin, and Beijing. In 2012-2013, its 36th season as an ensemble, the Emerson performs extensively throughout North America. Its European itinerary includes Paris, Moscow, Salzburg, Vienna, Copenhagen, Munich, Perugia, and London. The Emerson continues its series at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, for its 33rd season. An album of Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence and Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht was released by Sony in March 2013.

    In 2007, the quartet celebrated 30 years of activity and 20 years as exclusive Deutsche Grammophon recording artists with a historic nine-concert Perspectives series in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, titled Beethoven in Context. The series, which spanned three centuries of repertoire, received an overwhelming response and nine outstanding reviews in The New York Times.

    Since 2002, the Emerson has been quartet-in-residence at Stony Brook University. Prior to that time, they were affiliated for 20 years with the Hartt School of Music.

    Formed in the bicentennial year of the United States, the Emerson String Quartet took its name from the great American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. The founding members of the Emerson, violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer, were joined by violist Lawrence Dutton in 1977 and cellist David Finckel in 1979. To commemorate its 25th-anniversary season, the quartet compiled a commemorative book entitled Converging Lines. Written in the members' own words, the book contains never-before-published text, graphics, and photos from the Emerson's private archives.

    The quartet is based in New York City. The ensemble recently announced what will be its first member change in 34 years, when cellist Paul Watkins replaces David Finckel at the end of the 2012-2013 concert season. Mr. Finckel will leave the group to devote more time to his personal artistic endeavors. To mark Mr. Finckel's departure from and Mr. Watkins's debut with the Emerson String Quartet, all five gentlemen will perform together for the first time at the Smithsonian on May 11, 2013.

    More Info

  • Paul Neubauer

    Paul Neubauer's exceptional musicality and effortless playing distinguish him as one of this generation's quintessential artists. Appointed principal violist of the New York Philharmonic at age 21, he is the music director of the Chamber Music Extravaganza in Curaçao. Upcoming projects include the world premiere of a new viola concerto by Aaron Jay Kernis with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (conducted by Roberto Abbado), and performances with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, and Idyllwild Arts Orchestra. Mr. Neubauer has also formed a trio with soprano Susanna Phillips and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, which performs a wide range of repertoire that includes salon-style songs for voice, viola, and piano. They have upcoming performances in California, Arizona, Ohio, Virginia, and Massachusetts.

    A two-time Grammy nominee, Mr. Neubauer has recorded works by Schumann with Ms. McDermott, as well as numerous pieces that were composed for him, including Joan Tower's Purple Rhapsody for viola and orchestra and Wild Purple for solo viola; Viola Rhapsody, a concerto by Henri Lazarof; and Derek Bermel's Soul Garden for viola and chamber ensemble. Mr. Neubauer's recording of the Walton Viola Concerto was recently re-released on Decca.

    He has appeared as soloist with more than 100 orchestras that include the New York, Los Angeles, and Helsinki philharmonics; St. Louis and San Francisco symphonies; National, Detroit, Dallas, and Bournemouth symphony orchestras; Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia; English Chamber Orchestra; and Beethovenhalle Bonn. Mr. Neubauer gave the world premiere of the revised Bartók Viola Concerto, as well as concertos by Krzysztof Penderecki, Tobias Picker, Henri Lazarof, Detlev Müller-Siemens, and several others. He has performed at the Verbier, Ravinia, Stavanger, Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center, Mostly Mozart, and Marlboro festivals. Mr. Neubauer is on the faculty of The Juilliard School and Mannes College The New School For Music, and is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

    More Info

  • Colin Carr

    Colin Carr appears throughout the world as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and teacher. He has played with major orchestras worldwide, including the Royal Concertgebouw, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, and BBC Symphony Orchestra, as well as the orchestras of Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, Philadelphia, and Montreal. Conductors with whom he has worked include Sir Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev, Charles Dutoit, Stanisław Skrowaczewski, and Sir Neville Marriner. He has been a regular guest at the BBC Proms, has twice toured Australia, and has recently played concertos with the London Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Hallé Orchestra.

    Last season, Mr. Carr performed cycles of Beethoven's complete works for cello and piano with his duo partner Thomas Sauer throughout the US, England, Germany, and France. They have recently played recitals together at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Philadelphia's Chamber Music Society, and London's Wigmore Hall.

    As a member of the Golub-Kaplan-Carr Trio, he recorded and toured extensively for 20 years. Chamber music plays an important role in his musical life. He is a frequent visitor to international chamber music festivals worldwide and has appeared often as a guest with the Guarneri and Emerson string quartets, and with New York's Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. In 2012, he recorded the string sextets of Schoenberg and Tchaikovsky with the Emerson String Quartet and Paul Neubauer.

    Mr. Carr was made a professor at the Royal Academy of Music in 1998, having been on the faculty of the New England Conservatory in Boston for 16 years. In 1998, St. John's College, Oxford, created the post of "Musician in Residence" for him, and in September 2002 he became a professor at Stony Brook University in New York.

    Mr. Carr's cello was made by Matteo Goffriller in Venice in 1730. He makes his home with his wife Caroline and three children outside Oxford.

    More Info


Korngold's Die tote Stadt, Act 1, Glück, das mir verblieb (Mariettalied)
English Chamber Orchestra | Jeffrey Tate, Conductor | Renée Fleming, Soprano

Vienna’s Musical Fin de Siècle

If [in Paris] one were to mention that someone or something was thoroughly fin de siècle, then it apparently suggests that they are capable of sensing the end of the century, or already sense what is to follow. One thinks of the bloom of fresh life shining from beneath the pallor of death.

Thus wrote an essayist for Vienna's newspaper, Neue Freie Presse, in 1890. By 1899, the same journalist was hoping never to hear the expression again. If in 1890 fin de siècle was thought Parisian, by the early 20th century it had become quintessentially Viennese. The French change of century had created a belle époque, implying a future worth anticipating. The Viennese fin de siècle simply confirmed the belief that there would be no future.

Vienna's fin de siècle was born in 1897, the year in which Brahms died and Mahler arrived at the Imperial Opera. Its conception  took place far earlier, however, parented by both Richard Wagner and his antipole Johannes Brahms. Eduard Hanslick held sway as the city's most formidable music critic. As a staunch defender of Brahms and Leipzig's Classical old school, he opposed Wagner and Liszt, who represented a new school that viewed Classicism as restrictive. That new school placed content over form and could drift from its tonal anchor, evoking an eroticism that spoke darkly to a pre-Freudian public. It also spoke persuasively to the next generation of composers.

The year 1897 was when Emperor Franz Joseph was forced to install Vienna's anti-Semitic mayor Karl Lueger. Central to these developments stood an affluent, yet only recently established, Jewish bourgeoisie. With Nationalism threatening to tear the Empire asunder, Franz Grillparzer's 1849 maxim seemed prophetic: "Our latest lessons show, Humanity / Moves towards Nationality / Into Bestiality.

This evening's program presents a journey through Vienna's fin de siècle. It takes us through the bourgeois stability of Brahms, as contrasted with the eroticism of Wagner and the decadent madness of Strauss's Ophelia, towards the compelling apocalyptic visions of Schoenberg, Webern, and Wellesz, with Karl Weigl resonating with the outer glow of Vienna's younger composers and Eric Zeisl offering the next generation's impression of the city's nihilistic aesthetic.

If Mahler is absent from this program, it is because he is vicariously represented by his Janus face Richard Strauss. Critic Julius Korngold, father of composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold, wrote the following comparison of the two composers in 1904:

Why does Mahler have it more difficult than Strauss? One places the two composers often enough side by side as the apex of modern musical genius. Strauss, however, has until now not only been modern, but also modish. Isn't Mahler also a brilliant technician, virtuoso orchestrator, in possession of a gloriously deep musical spirit? Of course he is; but … in a very different way from Strauss. One could say that Mahler is both more conservative and more advanced than Strauss. Strauss, on the other hand, is the more potent "new German" musician. He strides down paths that were trodden 50 years earlier by Wagner and Liszt. The symphonic poem, which takes its very existence with the introduction of extra-musical content, was called into being and placed next to the symphony. … Mahler's true progenitor is Berlioz …, just as Strauss's [true progenitor] is Liszt. … Mahler looks for broad subjects that he varies and spins out; Strauss works with motifs and particles that he combines in complex polyphonic escapades. Diatonic thinking remains at Mahler's core, while with Strauss it's chromatic. If Strauss sounds cacophonic by cleverness and contrariness, Mahler sounds cacophonic by conviction.

The above serves not only as a comparison between Mahler and Strauss, but also as a précis of two aesthetic strains that co-existed in Vienna and together formed a bridge into a troubled 20th century.

Program Notes


Renée Fleming in Conversation with Leon Botstein: 1. Change in Late-19th-Century Viennese Art and Society

Renée Fleming in Conversation with Leon Botstein: 2. The Relationship between 20th Century Music and Audiences

Renée Fleming in Conversation with Leon Botstein: 3. The Music of Richard Strauss

Renée Fleming in Conversation with Leon Botstein and André Previn: Viennese Composers in the United States

Renée Fleming Introduces Her 2012-2013 Carnegie Hall Perspectives Series


Perspectives: Renée Fleming

Part of