5th Symphony Concert 2013/14 //
Franz Liszt “Vexilla regis prodeunt” - Hymn for orchestra
Franz Liszt Two Legends of St. Francis for orchestra
Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 2 in C minor
Although Bruckner considered dedicating his highly anticipated second symphony to either the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra or Franz Liszt, in the end he dedicated it to neither. Ironically, the former declared the work unplayable following a trial run-through (and yet performed it at the enthusiastically received world premiere) and the latter simply left the score behind in the Schalottenhof in Vienna. A concert featuring the brilliant structuralist Bruckner and the dramatic narrator Liszt? Indeed, what we have here is the entire spectrum of late Romantic orchestral art.
Though it sometimes goes by the name »Symphony of Pauses« – understandable due to its sudden chasms that open between the incredibly powerful sound blocks – Bruckner’s »Second« is built on his personal achievements, which are still characteristic of his symphonic works today: the expansive growth of the musical structure out of the void, the dense interweave of the various themes and the acoustically powerful, polyphonic arrangement. There is no doubt that the extroverted conductor Liszt – though he regarded himself as a reformed ascetic by this time – couldn’t relate to the intellectual approach of Bruckner’s symphony. In his »Legends of St. Francis« of 1863, Liszt chose to forego the compositional structures that were so important to Bruckner, concentrating instead on musically reconstructing the subtle atmosphere of the legends surrounding St. Francis.
Liszt adapted the »Vexilla regis prodeunt«, the culmination of Christian-Latin hymnal composition, as a piano solo, an acoustically sensual orchestral piece and as the introduction to his monumental choral work »Via crucis«. Bruckner, of all people, also decided to compose his own musical score to »Vexilla regis« in 1892 in a modest, four-part choral arrangement »purely for his heart’s desire«. But as we know, he had his own cross to bear during his lifetime.
Introduction: 6.45 pm in the Flügelsaal I (Weimarhalle). The introduction is given in German.
Martin Haselböck (Dirigent)