Inspired by a compulsive and tormented love affair à la Romeo and Juliet, this powerful 1830 work of Hector Berlioz uses the orchestra in a fashion completely ingenious at the time. “There is no precedent in music— just three years after the death of Beethoven—for his staggeringly inventive use of the orchestra, creating entirely new sounds with the same instruments that had been playing together for years; for the bold, unexpected harmonies; and for melodies that are still, to this day, unlike anyone else’s. There isn’t a page of this score that doesn’t contain something distinctive and surprising,” says Phillip Huscher of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Richard Strauss’ Burleske for piano and orchestra is a rarely performed work often referred to as “unplayable” by pianists throughout musical history because of its ferociously difficult solo part. Influenced greatly by the works of Brahms and the famous waltz format, this composition is sure to please audiences with its technical prowess and youthful escapades, having been premiered with Strauss himself conducting at the age of only twenty-six.
BERLIOZ: Symphonie fantastique
STRAUSS: Burleske for piano and orchestra
Jeremy Swerling, conductor
Jonathan Bass, piano