Both Robert Schumann's Violin Concerto and Johannes Brahms's Symphony No. 3 are closely linked with the Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim. Schumann composed his Violin Concerto for Joachim in 1853, who nevertheless decided that Schumann's mental decline (which would result in the composer's death a few years later) was clearly audible in the work and thus did not wish to perform it in public. Fortunately, the concerto has remained firmly in the concert repertoire ever since its long-overdue premiere in 1937. The phenomenal Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova, who is making her first appearance with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, will be performing the solo part.
The conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner, who applies his knowledge of historical performance to repertoire from the early Baroque all the way through to the twentieth century, will then be guiding the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra through Brahms's Third Symphony. The motif F-A-flat-F, which the composer uses as the foundation of his Third Symphony, is the musical translation of the words 'frei aber froh', or free yet happy - Brahms's response to his friend Joseph Joachim's motto 'frei aber einsam' (free yet lonely).
As a young man, Hector Berlioz was so captivated by the work of Shakespeare that he would later make reference to him in many of his compositions, the first being the concert overture Le roi Lear.