Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Robin Ticciati, conductor
Elgar | Rihm | Beethoven
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Robin Ticciati will open his third season as the DSO’s Music Director at Musikfest Berlin. For the first time, he and his orchestra will devote themselves to one of Beethoven’s symphonies – the rarely performed Forth, whose sound and expression resemble the environments of the Prisoners’ Chorus from the opera “Fidelio”: It is a symphony to celebrate liberty, with decidedly lyrical features and serene expression. Ticciati’s string section will be playing on gut strings.
At the time of their first performances, the Forth and its three predecessors were considered to be among Beethoven’s “rough diamonds”. And this applied especially to the bewildering introduction of the Forth: “First of all, a slow tempo, full of short, disjointed ideas, none of which is permitted to be connected to the other, three or four notes every quarter of an hour! – what a strain this creates! Then a dull timpani roll and mysterious violas, everything decorated with the appropriate amount of general rests and halts; finally, when the listener has already renounced the Allegro from pure tension, a furious tempo which, however, is intended mostly to prevent any main idea to come to the forefront”, Carl Maria von Weber noted.
Beethoven was 36 years old, when he wrote the Forth; Wolfgang Rihm was 25, a rebellious young composer, when he wrote “La musique creuse le ciel”. This was not his only work to create a stir and shake the concepts of what new music could and should be in those days. Baudelaire’s poetic line which gave the work its title could be rendered, as the composer said, as “Music erodes the heavens” or “Music eviscerates the heavens” or “Music intensifies the heavens”. “Working on this piece, I believed that I was writing a great narrative that spirals, continually starts anew – starts something new, something re-evaluated that was already there. In fact, a kind of maelstrom music.” An irrepressible maelstrom music: This is what this work, headstrong in the best meaning of the word, has remained until today.