Four Last Songs
Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30
About the event
“How come there has been no Richard Strauss Marathon yet?”, we could ask. The answer is simple: there are too many excellent composers who deserve to be the center of the long-established series of BFO and Müpa Budapest. However, it is also true that the composer living at a time of transition between two eras can be the ideal protagonist of an all-day event. His style changed several times during his 85 years, which rendered his oeuvre extremely diverse. As he was a brilliant master of orchestration and composed for several types of ensembles, from chamber to large-scale symphony orchestras, it is no big challenge to offer a colorful program of his pieces. He was one of the greatest storytellers in the history of music: his songs, operas and symphonic poems describe deep feelings and human fates - in stories that are sometimes comic and sometimes darkly tragic.
Following our events starring Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart, Bartók, Bach, Stravinsky, Mendelssohn and Schumann, Brahms, Bernstein, Debussy and Ravel, Beethoven once again, and then Berlioz and Liszt online, the 15th joint Marathon of the Festival Orchestra and Müpa Budapest will focus on Richard Strauss, who broke through the confines of Romanticism and set an example to the composers of the 20th century. As usual, Béla Bartók National Concert Hall will be the venue primarily of the symphonic concerts, while the Festival Theatre will host the chamber music events. The other rooms and spaces will offer free concerts and screenings. As in previous years, performers include outstanding soloists, chamber ensembles and orchestras of Hungary, and some young talents will be also invited.
Richard Strauss is perhaps best known for his operas: after the extremely dramatic and modern tone of Salome and Elektra, he returned to Romanticism and also composed great works in that style. Or for his symphonic poems, as thanks to Stanley Kubrick, everybody knows the first few bars of Thus Spake Zarathustra. Or for the songs he was committed to throughout his life, and which were also inspired by his wife, soprano Pauline de Ahna. Or maybe his concertos, whereby he paid tribute to his horn player father, or provided an oboist staying in Germany as a soldier with some music to play, or expressed his admiration for Mozart and Beethoven. It is impossible to highlight just one piece or genre; Strauss was never content with the conventions of his age. He wanted something more, larger, deeper and newer.
The Marathon presented with the artistic direction of renowned Strauss conductor Iván Fischer will be a great opportunity for the composer’s fans to indulge in their passion and also for all those who have so far been less enthusiastic about the unpredictable composer to obtain an extensive and real picture — or rather, sound — about him.
A joint event by the Müpa Budapest and the Budapest Festival Orchestra.