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 Mastersingers of Nuremberg) is well-known to many. The prelude to this music drama revolving around the singing contest of the guild of master singer-composers from different trades is one Wagner’s most entertaining pieces of music; he even composed a concert overture from it. In the piece juggling with four themes, the masters appear and they are also mocked, and we can hear the motifs of the contest song.
Once we have understood from Wagner’s opera the art of composing the perfect song, the BFO will play us 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 the resemblance of their atmosphere, colours and themes. The cycle depicting love and longing was originally written for piano accompaniment, but Berlioz himself orchestrated it creating the genre of the orchestral song cycle. Miah Persson sings the solo of the intimate piece. Whether performing on the opera stage or concert podium, she always concentrates on her voice rather than outward appearances.
Tchaikovsky’s most popular symphony, No. 6 in B minor (“Pathetic”) conjures up the deepest feelings without words but in an equally moving way. Here the composer wrote programme music, but without ever sharing his programme. However, an extant note may reveal the truth, suggesting that the first movement is about fiery passion, the second depicts love, and the last two describe disappointment and death. In a cruel twist of fate, Tchaikovsky died soon after the symphony was premiered.