With the leading Belgian conductor Philippe Herreweghe at the helm, concerts are always a special experience. And you certainly won’t want to miss him leading the Concertgebouworkest in two lively symphonies by Haydn and Schubert!
Joseph Haydn’s symphonies are a feast for the ears and the mind alike. He composed the Symphony No. 96, subtitled ‘Miracle’, in 1791, the year in which Mozart died and ‘Father Haydn’ embarked on a second youth: he travelled to London, where he celebrated unprecedented triumphs. Just after his Symphony No. 96 was premiered, a heavy chandelier is said to have fallen from the ceiling. No one was injured, since the audience had only just rushed forward to applaud the musicians and the composer, thus earning the work its nickname ‘Miracle’. It matters little that the incident probably occurred after the performance of another of Haydn’s symphonies. Still, the nickname is spot on: this symphony is a miracle of invention and vitality.
‘A miracle of invention and vitality’ is an equally fitting description of Schubert himself. Although best known as a composer of lieder, Schubert wrote ten brilliant symphonies in quick succession, none of which he would ever hear performed. The first performance of his Symphony No. 6 was on a memorial concert one month after Schubert’s untimely death. Schubert was immensely proud of the work when he composed it at the age of twenty. The second and fourth movements are imbued with the spirit of Rossini, of whom Schubert said, ‘He is undeniably an exceptional genius.’