Artistic Director & Conductor Jung-Ho Pak selected these Listening Links for our upcoming January 21 & 22 show The Romantics especially for you. Enjoy!
During the Romantic period in music, composers became superstars. Brahms, Franz Liszt, Wagner, and Robert Schumann revolutionized the art of live performance, seducing audiences with their unbridled talent and charisma. These four giants of the Romantic period were more daring and emotional in their work than anyone before them. We’re excited to bring you the work of these rock star composers!
Composer Robert Schumann was inspired by the legacy of Beethoven. His Konzertstück (Concert Piece) for Four Horns and Orchestra is rarely performed because it requires four excellent French horns. Our French horn players, Clark Matthews, Principal, Emily Buehler, Dave Rufino, and Neil Godwin, will take center stage to play the heroic hunting motifs of this exciting piece. In this video, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Valery Gergiev, and as you will see and hear, the four French horns are prominently featured.
Richard Wagner was a larger than life persona, known for his celebrity and controversy, and his powerful vision for opera changed the form. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Master-Singers of Nuremberg) is one of his masterpieces, and the comic opera’s uplifting tone made it immediately popular. The story takes place in the German city of Nuremberg in the 1500s, and focuses on the city’s guild of master singers. Wagner was inspired by a book about the history of German poetry, which included details of the master singers and in particular, Hans Sach, the most famous master singer. This is Wagner’s only opera that is based in history and not in myth or legend. The Prelude to Die Meistersinger contains the key motifs of the opera. In this video, the Prelude is performed by the London Philharmonic at Suntory Hall in Tokyo.
The fiery Franz Liszt was the Lady Gaga of his time, curating his look and personality for his audience, and taking advantage of the new technology - photographs. He lived extravagantly and wrote music that was unplayable by most people other than himself. Liszt truly embodied the rock star image of the Romantic era.
Johannes Brahms wrote pure music with elegant style. When he was informed that he would receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Breslau, he wrote the Academic Festival Overture for the commencement ceremony. Apparently, he originally planned to write a simple thank-you note, but the conductor who had nominated him for the honor told him he was expected to write a piece of music! In this tuneful, optimistic overture, Brahms used university student songs – what today we would call a mashup – to create a humorous yet complex and colorful work. In this video, the great Leonard Bernstein leads the Vienna Philharmonic.