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An Evening in Vienna

Asper (A)bsolute Classics

An Evening in Vienna

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Throughout the nineteenth century visitors to Vienna were astonished by the number of opportunities to hear music and by the virtuosity of the performers at every level, from court singer to itinerant harpist.

While the likes of Beethoven and Mozart were adopted sons of Vienna, Franz Schubert was the city’s true biological offspring. Born here. Died here. And – for most of his short life – lived and worked here. We begin this concert with an overture that became far more famous than the play it was intended for—Rosamunde, Princess of Cypress.

Brahms arrived in Vienna as an ambitious young musician in the early 1860s and remained for the rest of his life. Although uniquely Brahmsian, his sweet bucolic Serenade No 1 was very much influenced by Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven.

Erich Korngold was a child prodigy who grew up in Vienna but left in the early 1930’s to become the founding father of Hollywood Symphonic film scoring. His final orchestral work, Straussiana, uses melodies from Strauss’ lesser known works like ‘Fürstin Ninetta’, ‘Cagliostro in Wien’ and ‘Ritter Pasman’, creating a charming and brilliantly orchestrated potpourri.

ARTIST

Daniel Raiskin

Conductor

WORKS

Overture "The Magic Harp" (Rosamunde)

Schubert

Serenade No. 1

Brahms

Straussiana

Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Get more acquainted

  • Because Vienna was such an excellent place to make it big as a musical or artistic creative, many composers visited, stayed and wrote remarkable music there. In fact, more famous composers have lived in Vienna than any other city in the world. While Mozart, Haydn, Mahler and Bruckner all hailed from different parts of Austria, others, such as Beethoven, Gluck and Brahms came from other countries in Europe. However, the city did produce a fair few significant composers, including Franz Schubert, Johann Strauss I and Johann Strauss II.

 

  • Franz Schubert wrote the incidental music to the play Rosamunde, Princess of Cypress, for a friend Helmina von Chèzy. Already ridiculed for her libretto for Carl Maria von Weber’s Euryanthe, the Viennese critics likewise derided Chèzy for the ineptness of her writing. The romantic drama made it through two performances with the only saving graces being the incidental music that Schubert composed for the venture.

 

  • Originally, Johannes Brahms’ Serenade No. 1 was modestly scored for nine wind and string players, but the composer’s friends—notably pianist Clara Schumann and violinist Joseph Joachim— encouraged him to rework the piece for a larger ensemble. Joachim conducted the premiere of the revised, final version, which included brass, timpani, and a larger contingent of woodwinds. Schumann, in turn, ensured the piece’s premiere in Vienna by making its presence on the program a condition of her own concert appearance with the Vienna Philharmonic.

 

  • Johann Strauss II was one of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s musical idols. He committed himself to the operettas of Strauss in the 1920s and helped to perform forgotten works by adapting them carefully. Korngold’s father Julius, a famous critic, wrote about his son’s devotion to Johann Strauss: “When he once had been asked to rehearse and perform a Strauss-operetta, he soon felt the urge to revive the receptivity for Strauss’ forgotten music. That is how Erich’s approach led to a kind of Strauss-renaissance.”

 

  • Korngold refused to give Straussiana an opus number, superstitiously believing that he would not live to write beyond Opus 42. In the end it would indeed be his last completed work. He died only four years later in Hollywood at the age of 60.
Dates DATES

Nov 27, 2020 | 7:30 pm
Nov 28, 2020 | 7:30 pm

Venue VENUE

Centennial Concert Hall, MB, Canada

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Length LENGTH

Approximately 90 minutes with no intermission

Series Sponsor:
Asper Foundation Gail Asper Family Foundation

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