Visiting orchestras / Arnold Schönberg

San Francisco Symphony

Visiting: San Francisco

Foghorn, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Foghorn, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

© Wikimedia Commons

  • Duration 2h, one interval

Past Dates

19:00 work introduction

John Adams treated himself to some “absolute fun” when he gifted the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra a fantasy on Beethoven’s scherzos, including the one from the Ninth Symphony, for its 100th birthday. At the same time, his most recent work “Absolute Jest” is also a serious study by one of the most important American composers, who sharpens his wit on the material of a predecessor – with power, humour and fine craftsmanship.

That Michael Tilson Thomas, who commissioned “Absolute Jest” and premiered it in 2012, is now bringing this work to Berlin and linking it to Beethoven’s “Eroica” is no coincidence either. We are amazed at the revolutionary panache of this symphony, whose music is still kept alive 200 years later.

Arnold Schönberg was a composition professor in Berlin before going into exile in California where he composed his orchestral variations. The Californian composer John Adams on the other hand combined the energy of Schönberg’s Kammersinfonie with the comic figure Road Runner. The San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas present a programme, which looks at European tradition through an American lens.

Arnold Schönberg [1874–1951]
Variations op. 43b [1944]

John Adams [*1947]
Absolute Jest
Concert for string quartet and orchestra [2011]

Ludwig van Beethoven [1770–1827]
Symphony No. 3 in E flat major Eroica [1802/03]