Het Concertgebouw Orchestra continues its tour through all 28 member states of the European Union in Sweden: RCO meets Götenborg. The orchestra plays Zemlinsky's very rarely heard theatre music with the name Eine Lustspielouvertüre (or A Comedy Overture) Side by Side with Västra Götalands Youth Orchestra. The members of the Concertgebouw Orchestra will be sharing their music stand with the young musicians. The Orchestra then goes on to perform Strauss's Don Juan and Tod und Verklärung.
With his symphonic poetry Richard Strauss brought an almost cinematic realism to the music. The orchestra closely follows the adventures of the main protagonists, anecdotes often literally sounded out in minute detail. Don Juan provides a lively portrait of the legendary seducer who at the end of the piece collapses with exhaustion and disappointment. Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration) deftly portrays how a dying man looks back upon his life and after his death is lifted to a higher plane. The music is poignant with restrained drama.
Strauss was able to write such dramatic orchestral music, so rich in imagery, because he is among the greatest opera composers of the twentieth century, with Alban Berg. Berg's own Opus 1, a piano sonata, is performed here in the colourful orchestration of Theo Verbey; a regular feature on the programme of the Concertgebouw Orchestra since 1993.