Time to Celebrate Zubin Mehta with pianist Evgeny Kissin

זובין מהטה

Date

11.10.2019

Friday 14:00

Hall

The Lowy concert hall

Venue

Charles Bronfman Auditorium, Tel Aviv

Venue

Charles Bronfman Auditorium, Tel Aviv

Hall

The Lowy concert hall

Artists

Zubin Mehta, conductor 

Evgeny Kissin, pianist 

Concert Program

Liszt: Piano Concerto no. 2
R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben

Event Info

The 2019-20 season’s opening concerts are Maestro Zubin Mehta’s last before his retirement. As a personal tribute to him, a host of stars and close friends of the Maestro and Orchestra are set to perform. In this concert, as part of the closing festivities of the Jubilee celebrations, we hear Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2, played by Evgeny Kissin, and Richard Strauss’s symphonic poem "Ein Heldenleben.”

On Composers, Virtuosos, and Superheroes

For those who are not familiar with composition, the following story may sound a bit strange.

Franz Liszt, a gifted pianist and skilled composer, began writing his Piano Concerto No. 2 in 1839, but only completed his final version in 1861. The composer spent more than twenty years ruminating on this concerto, determined to improve the work. There is an interesting notion that Liszt, who without hesitation could produce brilliant pieces for solo piano, was in awe when it came to writing a large-scale symphonic work—perhaps he felt pressure to follow in the footsteps of Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms with a concerto of his own. The history of this concerto’s various iterations is also fascinating. It was originally written as a symphonic concerto, a kind of symphonic poem. Liszt's intent was likely to write an extensive programmatic work, but in its final incarnation, the concerto is a relatively short work, about 22 minutes, and includes six parts played sequentially which, structurally-speaking, feature intensive development of short thematic motives. The work, virtuosic in nature but far from "inhumane" in its technical requirements, has since gained immense popularity among pianists and music lovers.

Richard Strauss composed the symphonic poem "Ein Heldenleben" in 1898 when he was 34. The work marks the end of the "symphonic poem era” which gave Strauss fame and success. Strauss's symphonic poems offered the audience a different perspective on abstract symphonic music. From a conceptual point of view, symphonic poems relied on extra-musical material that was largely accessible to the audience, whether Nietzsche's philosophy or Strauss's interpretation of a folkloric character like Till Eulenspiegel. There was a new feeling of connection between the composer's intention and his audience. Of course, one must also look at the symphonic poem as another means for nineteenth-century composers to free themselves from the classical symphonic form.

"Ein Heldenleben" is the last of Strauss’s symphonic poems, after which he turned his energy mainly to the operatic genre, and is not based on concrete extra-musical thought. Strauss himself replied when asked: "All you have to imagine is that in the background of the work there is a hero and that he—the hero—successfully defeats his enemies.“ One could go out on a limb and assert that the first “superheroes” were created in “Ein Heldenleben" ... in fact if one closes his eyes and travels back in time, he cannot avoid seeing Strauss as the spiritual-musical father of composers such as John Williams and Hans Zimmer. The heroic representations in the work are clear. One can leave it to the professionals to speculate as to why the horns (Strauss’s father’s instrument) play such an important role in the piece. But in any case, the drama, conflicts, and climaxes in this piece are presented in a clear and enjoyable way. One can think of the work as a soundtrack that is ahead of its time. It is composed in six clearly distinguished episodes; each one has a dramatic and unique musical characterization, and all highlight Strauss’s incredible orchestration abilities. It isn’t for nothing the work has been beloved by conductors, almost from the day it was first performed.

Price Range

180 - 515 NIS

Duration

approx 90 minutes including intermission

Duration

approx 90 minutes including intermission

Price range

180 - 515 NIS

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