A not-to-be-missed season highlight! The legendary Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra returns to Zellerbach Hall with longtime collaborator Christian Thielemann at the podium. Over the course of three thrilling programs, the orchestra traverses a century of canonic repertoire—from the heroic music of Viennese classicism, through several generations of opulent Austro-German Romanticism, to the expanded sonorities of the Second Viennese School near the turn of the 20th century. These works showcase the mighty Vienna musicians at their finest, artists renowned for playing both “rich in detail and fearsome in its intensity” (The Guardian).
The first program features two evocative orchestral tone poems, matching the chromaticism of Schoenberg’s emotionally saturated Transfigured Night with Strauss’ massive and exhilarating An Alpine Symphony, a symphonic masterwork depicting a day-long trek through the mountains. The second program features Brahms’ serene and supremely lyrical Second Symphony, introduced by two Mendelssohn works inspired by his travels in Scotland. The Hebrides Overture evokes the composer’s explorations of the country’s rugged coastal landscapes, and the Scottish Symphony reflects his fascination with the region’s history and folklore.
The orchestra unleashes its full power in its final Berkeley concert, when it tackles Bruckner’s massive and magisterial Eighth Symphony, a work both orchestra and conductor recently recorded as part of an ongoing cycle of the composer’s music. “Provenance matters here. It helps if the orchestra has the music in its DNA. [Bruckner]…draws from Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic music-making of the rarest pedigree” (Gramophone).
The March 7 performance is made possible, in part, by Nadine Tang.