Hall: Concert Hall
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The works of Walter Braunfels are rarely performed in Poland; for a long time after his death, he was also forgotten in his homeland. His heyday came before World War II. Adolf Hitler is said to have loved his opera Die Vögel so much that he asked the composer to write a hymn for the NSDAP party, but Braunfels categorically refused and (unlike many other musicians, such as Carl Orff, who eagerly embraced the patronage of the Third Reich) did not make any attempts to please the criminal regime, which caused him to be banned from official music life. After the war he was particularly highly regarded as a teacher. Among others, he was the head of the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne. He had Jewish roots, but after the trauma of fighting in World War I he became a Catholic. His grand and monumental Te Deum of 1920 was a musical symbol of his conversion. It shows parallels with Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, continuing the ideas of that latter work, as well as of Mahler’s Eighth.
Liszt’s late symphonic poem From the Cradle to the Grave, inspired by the Hungarian artist Mihály Zichy’s drawing on the subject of Vanitas vanitatum, is focused and intimate, as well as philosophically reflective. It depicts in sound the evanescence of life and acceptance of death.