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Richard Wagnerbio:

György Ligetibio:
Mysteries of the Macabre – three arias from the opera Le Grand Macabre


Ludwig van Beethovenbio:
Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major (“Eroica”), Op. 55




Other information

The event is about 1.5 hours long.

About the event

"Tribschen idyll with Fidi's bird song and orange sunrise, performed by Richard as a symphonic birthday greeting to his Cosima in 1870", says the title page of what is now simply known as the Siegfried idyll. On Christmas morning 1870, Cosima's birthday, dozens of musicians gathered in the staircase of the Wagners' home in Tribschen to wake the celebrant with a fabulous serenade. After the performance, Siegfried, alias Fidi together with his brothers handed over the score to their mother, who happily rose from her bed in their orange-wallpapered bedroom. The piece is made up of the melodies of Siegfried, who would go through even fire for love, and Brünnhilde, who awakens from her sleep to a loving glance - symbolising the invincibility of Wagner and Cosima's relationship. The music climaxes with Siegfried's famous bird song. Although Wagner had not intended to publish the work, financial difficulties led him still to publish it in 1877 in his own transcription for large orchestra.

The Chief of Gepopo, the secret police of Brueghelland, gives a warning to Prince Go-Go: the intelligence service has discovered that a giant comet is approaching to destroy the planet. Due to the messenger’s fear and paranoid hysteria, the coded message becomes almost incomprehensible. Le Grand Macabre, Ligeti’s only opera, is an absurd caricature, full of sarcastic wit and virtuosic grotesqueness. This is especially true for the Gepopo arias, an independent concert piece since 1991. The wails of the Chief of Gepopo, desperately singing about the end of the world, is an extremely difficult technical task for the soprano; the chamber orchestra, sometimes operating as a choir, accompanies the cries for help with similar virtuosity.

Regardless of the dedication to Napoléon, and regardless of the hidden programs invented by fanciful musicologists, what we know for sure is that Beethoven eventually dedicated his Third Symphony, “composed to celebrate the memory of a great man,” to one of his most generous patrons, Prince Lobkowitz. The gigantic, dramatic first movement is full of melodies; even so, the music has a unified atmosphere. The slow funeral march (second movement) deepens the grief of the preceding movement, offering solace with the unexpectedly emerging Scherzo (third movement). The symphony ends in a variational finale, the main subject of which has already been used by Beethoven several times. The movement includes a fugue, Hungarian motifs, and much more.

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