Mariss Jansons leads the Concertgebouw Orchestra in one of his party pieces: Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben. Strauss dedicated the work to the Concertgebouw Orchestra and its former conductor Willem Mengelberg.
Richard Strauss’s symphonic poem Ein Heldenleben occupies a special place in the history of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Its second chief conductor Willem Mengelberg invited Richard Strauss to come to Amsterdam to conduct his own works. Strauss was so impressed with the orchestra that he promised to dedicate his next symphonic work to Mengelberg and the Concertgebouw Orchestra. This was Ein Heldenleben. The Amsterdam audience greeted the work with explosive joy in 1899.
Mariss Jansons was chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from 2004 to 2015. Jansons has a particular liking for Strauss’s orchestral works and Ein Heldenleben is one of his party pieces. He has conducted it 22 times with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, including during his inaugural concert on 4 September 2004, which was dedicated to Willem Mengelberg. The recording that you can watch here was made on another red-letter day in the orchestra’s history: its 125th anniversary concert on 3 November 2013.