Gustavo Dudamel and the Concertgebouworkest cover many aspects of the Romantic Period in a programme with Richard Strauss’s early masterpiece Tod und Verklärung, Wagner’s well-loved Vorspiel und Liebestod from ‘Tristan und Isolde’ and Mahler’s orchestration of an intense Beethoven string quartet.
After more than seven years, Gustavo Dudamel returns to the Concertgebouworkest, conducting three important highlights of the nineteenth century. In his early masterpiece Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration), Richard Strauss describes the last hours of a man and the realisation of his ideal: ‘The idea was to write a tone poem describing the last hours of a man who had striven for the highest ideals. […] The soul leaves his body, to discover in the eternal cosmos the magnificent realisation of the ideal that could not be fulfilled here below.’ The serious subject of Tod und Verklärung was very much what would have been expected of a sensitive philosophically-minded romantic composer such as Richard Strauss.
The opening work is Mahler’s 1898 orchestration of Beethoven’s compact, dark and intense ‘Quartetto serioso’ from 1810. The orchestra declares its love to the audience performing the Vorspiel und Liebestod from Wagners opera Tristan und Isolde, one of the most influential works of the nineteenth century.