Hall: Concert Hall
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Due to the indisposition of Ronald Brautigam, the solo part in the Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 will be performed by Lise de la Salle.
Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 is not a programmatic piece, but – of his five concertos for this instrument – this one provoked 19th‑ century critics the most to postulate all kinds of programmes; for instance, a musical apotheosis of the beauty of nature (the extraordinary song‑ like quality of movement one gave the piece its nickname – the ‘Larch Concerto’, or Lerchenkonzert). The compact movement two is a mysterious intermezzo marked by a strong emphatic contrast between the imploring piano part and the resolute and implacable responses of the orchestra. The Orphic commentaries to this extremely suggestive section do not come from Beethoven himself who – with few exceptions, such as the Sixth Symphony – preferred to rely on the audience’s imagination and sensitivity, without imposing his own literary programmes.
Schumann’s last symphony (its number is misleading – it was written 9 years after the one published as the Fourth) is the fruit of one brief impressive effort, as it was written in just a month, in the winter of 1850. Though the subtitle ‘Rhenish’ does not come from the composer himself, it does reflect his publicly expressed admiration for the beauty and glorious history of the Rhineland, where he moved at that time, settling in Düsseldorf. The Cologne Cathedral made a huge impression on the composer; in the solemn 4th part some have seen an allusion to ceremonies held in that church. The cheerful and optimistic character of the work soon earned it much popularity. However, in the face of professional problems and failing health, the composer’s mood soon changed and he tried (fortunately without success) to end his life in the waters of his beloved Rhine.
Otto Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, based on Shakespeare’s comedy, enjoyed great popularity in 19th‑ century opera houses, including Warsaw, where it was conducted in 1864 by Stanisław Moniuszko. The Polish composer complemented the original score with several graceful ballet interludes, which we revive at today’s concert.