St Petersburg, Concert Hall

Strauss. Mahler

Third concert of the twelfth subscription

Richard Strauss
for stringed instrument ensemble

Gustav Mahler
Symphony No 3
Soloist: Zlata Bulycheva (mezzo-soprano)

Chorus and Symphony Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre
Principal Chorus Master: Andrei Petrenko

Richard Strauss. Metamorphosen (1945)
This grandiose adagio for twenty-three instruments is one of the most personal and touching works in the composer’s entire musical legacy. The direct reason for its being written lay in the tragic events of the last few months of World War II, of which the German maestro wrote to his friend Joseph Gregor: “I am in a despairing mood! Goethe’s home has been destroyed, that wonderful holy place in this world! My beautiful Dresden – Weimar – Munich, all in ruins!” Strauss did not conceal the programme idea of the piece, which was to be a farewell the great culture of Germany, of which the composer saw himself as the last representative, and at the same time is was a reflection of his own past life. In Metamorphosen there are motifs of a sad prayer for the dead that form the work’s core, and there are many musical allusions – King Marke’s theme from Wagner’s Tristan and Mandryka’s theme from Arabella, written together with the great playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal. The unique motto of the work comes with the theme of the Funeral March from Beethoven’s symphony Eroica, the most unambiguous work which the composer adorned with the words “In memoriam”.
Nadezhda Kulygina

Gustav Mahler: “Summer brought me the Third – perhaps the most mature and unique work I have written to date… My opus is a unique musical poem that covers all stages of development in its gradual growth. It begins with lifeless nature and rises upwards towards divine love… towards the fragile flesh of the human heart that strives to rise above this flesh and reach out to God… My symphony had to be something that the world had never heard before! In it, all of nature found its voice…”

Age category 6+

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