The Concertgebouworkest had a very special bond with Richard Strauss.
Carl Nielsen, Richard Strauss and Serge Rachmaninoff: audibly rooted in romanticism, all three worked with the Concertgebouworkest either as a conductor or soloist.
Kirill Gerstein is performing as soloist in Richard Strauss’s Burleske and Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. The Concertgebouworkest forged close ties early on with Strauss, who led the orchestra in his own works many times in Amsterdam. His Burleske is a miniature piano concerto. This early homage to Brahms was a great success when it was premiered.
Serge Rachmaninoff performed multiple times as pianist with the Concertgebouworkest. He made a comeback as a composer with his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, demonstrating that Russian romanticism was still very much alive and well in 1934.
Nielsen’s early overture Helios is a cheerful piece, while the poignant Fifth Symphony bears all the traces of the marital crisis in which he then found himself. Both works are still very compelling today.