Vienna as it was around 1900 is brought to life again with music intersecting with Klimt’s work by Alexander Zemlinsky, Gustav and Alma Mahler, Richard Strauss and Friedrich Cerha, as well as a world premiere by Bernd Richard Deutsch. Cristian Macelaru is conducting the Concertgebouworkest and the soprano Elena Stikhina.
Gustav Klimt’s life and work were closely connected with those of Gustav and Alma Mahler, Richard Strauss and Alexander Zemlinsky. Klimt’s decorative art runs through their music like a golden thread. Only a few of Alma’s late Romantic songs have survived. She had relationships with both Klimt and Zemlinsky, yet married Gustav Mahler. The Adagietto from his Fifth Symphony is considered his ultimate declaration of love to Alma. Klimt’s influence resonates in Richard Strauss’s sensual opera Salome. In the final scene, the kiss is imbued with a dark intensity: when Salome kisses John the Baptist’s severed head, she herself is condemned to death.
Gustav Klimt honoured Beethoven, born 250 years ago, with the beautiful Beethoven Frieze depicting the finale of the Ninth Symphony which is still on display at the Vienna Secession Building. The Viennese composer Friedrich Cerha wrote a ‘musical paraphrase’ of the beginning of the same symphony. The programme also features a newly commissioned work by the Austrian composer Bernd Richard Deutsch, for which the well-known artist and designer Bas van Beek has created visual images.