Richard Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Overture
Hector Berlioz: Les nuits d’été (Summer Nights) – Song Cycle, Op. 7
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B minor (“Pathétique”), Op. 74
The Copenhagen concert of the Budapest Festival Orchestra illustrates the diversity of love and love poetry. The concert with Swedish soprano Miah Persson will focus on extraordinary confessions from German, French and Russian Romanticism, from playful rivalry to deadly dramas.
Merriment and lightness are not usually associated with the name of Wagner, even though his opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Master Singers of Nuremberg) is widely known. The prelude to this music drama revolving around a singing contest of the guild of master singers from different trades is one of Wagner’s most entertaining pieces of music; he even composed a concert ending for it. The piece is juggling with four themes as the masters appear and are also mocked, and we also hear motifs from the prize song.
Once we have learned from Wagner’s opera the art of composing a perfect song, the BFO will present us with some other fine examples. Berlioz’s song cycle entitled Les nuits d’été (Summer Nights) sets to music six poems by Théophile Gautier. The highly personal, intimate songs are connected by their similar atmosphere, colours and themes. The cycle depicting love and longing was originally written with piano accompaniment, but Berlioz himself orchestrated it, thereby creating a new genre: the orchestral song cycle. Miah Persson sings the solo of this intimate work. Whether performing on the opera stage or the concert podium, she always concentrates on her voice rather than outward appearances.
Tchaikovsky’s most popular symphony, No. 6 in B minor (“Pathétique”), conjures up the deepest feelings – without words, but perhaps precisely therefore in a particularly moving way. This music certainly sounds „programmatic”, but the composer did not make his ideas public. However, a surviving note arguably reveals what he had in mind, suggesting that the first movement expresses fiery passion, the second depicts love, and the last two describe disappointment and death. In a cruel twist of fate, Tchaikovsky died soon after his „fateful” symphony was premiered.