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Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
On Tuesday, February 12, at 7 p.m., Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, led by Daniel Harding, makes its return to the Orchestra Hall stage for the first time since 2006. Their performance on the Symphony Center Presents (SCP) Orchestra series features a program of two classics of the symphonic repertoire—Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 and R. Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben.
The program opens with Brahms’ final symphonic work, Symphony No. 4 in E minor. From the sighing motives in the opening movement to the Baroque passacaglia-like form of the final movement, this work features familiar melodies and a melancholy expression. The second half of the program features Richard Strauss’ tone poem, Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life), which utilizes horn calls to symbolize a hero and includes quotations from some of the composer’s other works such as Also sprach Zarathustra and Don Quixote. Strauss dedicated Ein Heldenleben to the Concertgebouw Orchestra and its then-Chief Conductor Willem Mengelberg.
Lauded for its unique sound, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has been hailed for its “gloriously rich brass, gleaming strings and impeccably blended ensemble” by The Financial Times. Having been conducted by leading composers of the past such as Mahler, R. Strauss and Stravinsky, today the orchestra collaborates with contemporary composers like John Adams, Tan Dun and Thomas Adès. In addition to 90 concerts performed annually at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra gives 40 concerts throughout the world each year. The orchestra has released more than 1,100 recordings to date, many of them receiving international distinctions.
Daniel Harding is Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, as well as Conductor Laureate of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, with whom he has worked for more than 20 years.
Tickets for all Symphony Center Presents Orchestra series concerts can be purchased by phone at 800‑223‑7114 or 312-294‑3000, online at cso.org or at the Symphony Center box office: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604.
Maestro Daniel Harding leads the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (photo courtesy of Symphony Center Chicago)