Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin I

Anne Schwanewilms, Sopran
Vladimir Jurowski, conductor
Bach | Berg | Webern | Schnittke

Vladimir Jurowski and Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin will launch their new season with two concerts at Musikfest Berlin on 5 and 11 September. The programme of the first concert 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 Variations for Orchestra with the expressive torsi of Alban Berg’s opera “Wozzeck”. They will be contrasted with Alfred Schnittke’s „Concerto grosso No. 1“ – Schnittke’s commentary on the concept of the baroque concerto grosso.

Odilon Redon, “L’œil, comme un ballon bizarre, se dirige vers l’infini”, Série pour Edgar Poe, 1882

Odilon Redon, “L’œil, comme un ballon bizarre, se dirige vers l’infini”, Série pour Edgar Poe, 1882

© Wikimedia Commons

Past Dates

“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 their first concert at Musikfest Berlin. Webern’s “diamonds” will be combined with fragments from Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck” and the Concerto Grosso No. 1 by Alfred Schnittke. In this 1977 composition for two violins, prepared piano and strings, Schnittke formulates a polystylistic commentary on the baroque idea of an intensive dialogue between the orchestra and soloists in which he uses the underlying framework of the concerto grosso to be able to showcase numerous other forms of music: Soviet popular songs, nostalgic, atonal serenades, echoes of Corelli, a tango played on a harpsichord and excerpts from Schnittke’s own film scores. This opening to the concert programme also features Webern, represented here with an arrangement of Johann Sebastian Bach‘s “Fugue” from “The Musical Offering”. Here – in turning towards classicism and Bach – the concert programme builds a bridge from Webern to Schnittke and contrasts them against the background of the Viennese School and postmodernism.

Concert Programme

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
(2nd Ricercar) a sei voci
from Das Musikalische Opfer (BWV 1079/5)
(arranged for orchestra by Anton Webern) (1935)

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)

Anton Webern (1883 – 1945)
Variations for Orchestra op. 30 (1940)

Alfred Schnittke (1934 – 1998)
Concerto grosso No. 1
for 3 violins, cembalo, prepared piano and chamber orchestra (1977)


Anne Schwanewilms soprano
Erez Ofer violin
Nadine Contini violin

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
Vladimir Jurowski conductor

Programme and cast are subject to change
* Participation of the children’s choir under reserve

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