Czech Philharmonic

Christian Immler, Czech Philharmonic

In the latter half of the 19th century, society was sharply divided in central Europe. The heart of the dispute was not religion however, it was art: advocates of Wagner and Brahms could not see eye to eye. The Czech Philharmonic’s Chief Conductor Semyon Bychkov has chosen to please those who favour the latter in these concerts entirely devoted to the music of Johannes Brahms.

classicalmusic
czechphilharmonic
filharmonie
singing
orchestra
rudolfinum
concert

All dates

Wednesday

10/2/2024


7:30 PM


Rudolfinum - Dvořák Hall

Praha


130 - 1550 CZK

Thursday

10/3/2024


7:30 PM


Rudolfinum - Dvořák Hall

Praha


130 - 1550 CZK

Friday

10/4/2024


7:30 PM


Rudolfinum - Dvořák Hall

Praha


130 - 1550 CZK

Description

ABOUT THE CONCERT 

In the latter half of the 19th century, society was sharply divided in central Europe. The heart of the dispute was not religion however, it was art: advocates of Wagner and Brahms could not see eye to eye. The Czech Philharmonic’s Chief Conductor Semyon Bychkov has chosen to please those who favour the latter in these concerts entirely devoted to the music of Johannes Brahms.

Subscription series B

Programme

Johannes Brahms (arr. Detlev Glanert)
Four Serious Songs, Op. 121, arranged for baritone and orchestra (2004)

Johannes Brahms
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73

Performers

Christian Immler bass-baritone

Semyon Bychkov conductor

Czech Philharmonic

MORE INFORMATION

Johannes Brahms’s Symphony No. 2 which premiered in 1877, dates from the period when the composer was firmly establishing himself as a prominent figure of Viennese musical life. Brahms described the work as “pastoral”, certainly not without reference to the Sixth Symphony of his role model: Ludwig van Beethoven, who was not only a great source of inspiration for Brahms but also a figure whose legacy long challenged his confidence in his own compositions. The work’s mood comes across as cheerful, and even the sadder moments feel comforting. Nonetheless, Brahms wrote to his publisher that his symphony “is so melancholy that you will not be able to bear it. I have never written anything so sad, and the score must come out in mourning.” This of course might have been meant ironically.

The first movement’s broadly arched main theme is one of Brahms’s most appealing melodies. The second movement continues in a similar vein while turning inwards even further. The scherzo, in the character of a classical minuet, is an inventive and artisanal evocation of serenade-like lightness. The final movement departs from the overall mood of calm, but even here one finds moments of repose. This formally balanced symphony is captivating with its succinct rhythms and orchestration in which Brahms makes use of his favourite colours in the French horns, luminous strings, and woodwinds.
Brahms’s Four Serious Songs were written near the end of his life when he was grieving the death of his friend Clara Schumann. He had also begun to feel the effects of an illness that would soon prove to be fatal. At this difficult time, he turned to Luther’s German translation of the Bible, and as he had already done in his German Requiem, focused more on passages that are existential rather than explicitly religious. The first three songs explore the finite and transient nature of human life, and the last offers listeners a fuller view of humankind’s fate.

In these performances, the songs will be heard in an orchestral arrangement by Detlev Glanert who has framed them with four preludes and postludes, creating a continuous musical flow to enhance the original work. The soloist is Christian Immler who returns to Prague following the world premiere of Glanert’s Prague Symphony with the Czech Philharmonic and Semyon Bychkov in 2022. 

Show more
Length 90 minutes
Music
Johannes Brahms

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