Christina Nilsson. Photo: Besim Mazhiqi
Alan Gilbert. Photo: Yanan Li
Members from the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. Photo: Mats Lundqvist
Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony
Alan Gilbert conducts and soprano Christina Nilsson is the soloist in Vier letzte Lieder.
Thursday 27 April 2023 19.00Ends approximately 21.00
Watch the concert at Konserthuset Play.
Richard Strauss composed many works with his wife Pauline as the source of inspiration – she was a renowned soprano. He was in his 80s when he came upon a poem by Joseph von Eichendorff about an aging couple who, at the end of their lives together, observe the setting sun and ask themselves: “Might this be death?” This inspired him to begin composing a song cycle that was never completed. After Strauss’ death, his publisher put the four completed songs together, naming them Vier letzte Lieder, “Four Last Songs.”
As vocal soloist, we hear the young soprano Christina Nilsson, who confirmed her place on the opera scene with her sensational debut role as Aida with the Royal Swedish Opera in 2018. She has performed with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra several times, most recently at a summer concert in 2019.
Beauty and tranquillity continue in the Pastoral Symphony, in which Beethoven describes life in the countryside in the early nineteenth century. He gave the various movements painterly names: “Awakening of Cheerful Feelings Upon Arrival in the Countryside”, “Scene by the Brook”, “Merry Gathering of Country Folk”, “Thunderstorm” and “Shepherd’s Song”. It is a bright, musical journey through the countryside, with only a storm disrupting the idyllic scene.
The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra’s Conductor Laureate Alan Gilbert conducted the world premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Frontispiece, which opens the concert, when he took over as chief conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra in 2019. Unsuk Chin describes the music as a sort of fast-forwarding through history, in which music from different eras emerges in new forms and blends together. Unsuk Chin was featured at Konserthuset’s 2013 Composer Festival.
The musicApproximate times
Unsuk Chin Frontispiece8 min
Richard Strauss Four Last Songs25 min
Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 6 ’’Pastoral’’40 min
- Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
- Alan Gilbert conductor
- Christina Nilsson soprano