The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra performs Anton Bruckner's Third Symphony, preceded by two classics of the Second Viennese School: Webern's Five Movements and Berg's Altenberg Lieder. Bruckner dedicated his majestic Third Symphony to his hero Richard Wagner. The premiere in Vienna was led by Bruckner himself, who was an inexperienced conductor. In dribs and drabs the audience deserted the hall, even some of the orchestra took their leave. A small group of admirers remained, including a seventeen-year-old Gustav Mahler. So went the unlikely debut of a triumphal piece: the Third is now viewed as Bruckner's first major masterpiece.
Symphony No. 3 is preceded by two works that lovingly escort nineteenth-century Romanticism to the door. In his Five Movements for String Quartet Webern strips the Viennese waltz and the yearning melodic lines of Bruckner and Mahler of their romantic ballast, keeping only the lonely and melancholic essence. The very short middle piece still sounds modern today. Soprano Anett Fritsch performs her debut with the orchestra in Alban Berg's masterful Altenberg Lieder - expressive musical postcards reporting on the turbulent life in Vienna in between two eras.