Open mine of the Udachnaya diamond mine in Udatschny, Yakutia (Russia)

Open mine of the Udachnaya diamond mine in Udatschny, Yakutia (Russia)

Photo: Alexander Stapanov, Wikimedia Commons

Berlin-based Orchestras

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin I

Vladimir Jurowski, conductor
Webern | Berg | Schnittke

Vladimir Jurowski and Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin will launch their new season with two concerts at Musikfest Berlin on 5 and 11 September. Both concert programmes will pay homage to the music of Anton Webern, which shaped the sound of the 20th century and saw itself as emerging from the tradition of Viennese classicism. The RSB’s first concert combines Webern’s highly concentrated orchestra pieces with the expressive torsi of Alban Berg’s opera “Wozzeck”. They will be confronted with the symphonic music of Alfred Schnittke, which seeks to find proximity with Gustav Mahler’s music, from which Berg’s and Webern’s musical language developed.

18:10 work introduction

“15 September 1945, the day of Anton Webern’s death, should be a day of mourning for every receptive musician. We are not only honouring a great composer, but also a true hero. Doomed to total failure in a world of ignorance and indifference, he continued to polish his diamonds steadfastly, his glittering diamonds that came from mines which he knew inside and out”. Igor Stravinsky wrote these words in 1955, when Webern’s work was about to become the sound that ushered in a new musical epoch. 75 years after the end of the war and the liberation of the national-socialist concentration camps, Vladimir Jurowski and Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin will honour this great composer, who was killed by an accidental bullet during an American military raid, in both their concerts at Musikfest Berlin. Webern’s “diamonds” will be combined with Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck”-fragments and the large-scale Concerto Grosso-symphony be Alfred Schnittke. Schnittke’s composition in four movements, composed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Concergebouworkest Amsterdam, is both: initially a Concerto Grosso, it gradually transforms into a symphony with clear Mahleresque features. The symphonic narrative of “per aspera ad astra”, however, appears to have been reversed: The luminous Concerto grosso becomes a symphonic river that flows into the sombre tones of the final movement’s funeral march.

Concert Programme

Anton Webern (1883 – 1945)
5 Pieces for Orchestra op. 10 (1911 – 1913)

Alban Berg (1885 – 1935)
Three fragments from Wozzeck
for soprano, children’s choir and orchestra op. 7 (1917 – 1922)
(arranged for concert use by Alban Berg)

Alfred Schnittke (1934 – 1998)
Concerto grosso No. 4 / Symphony No. 5 (1988)


Anne Schwanewilms soprano

Children’s Choir of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin
Vinzenz Weissenburger coach
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
Vladimir Jurowski conductor

A Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin event in cooperation with Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin