Concert to mark Osnabrück Peace Day
In cooperation with the Theater Osnabrück
Osnabrück Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Andreas Hotz
Introduction: apl. Professor Dr. Stefan Hanheide
Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D major,
Symphony No. 2 in D major
These three concert works are all related to the year 1918, which marked the end of the First World War. The pianist Ludwig Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm in military service, used his family’s vast fortune to commission piano works for the left hand. The works produced included compositions by Prokofiev, Hindemith, Korngold, Britten and, most famously, Ravel’s Piano Concerto. These works commissioned by Wittgenstein are indicative of how he morally opposed his war wound and would overcome his personal artistic disability.
Ravel’s composition “La Valse” was originally meant to represent the apotheosis of the Viennese waltz. But he was unable to maintain this idea after the country that saw the birth of the waltz and France had become involved in hostilities. The waltz becomes increasingly distorted as the piece unfolds, with darker sounds, and ends in a crash. In the image of the Viennese waltz, Ravel shows how the Danube Monarchy caused itself to come to a catastrophic end in a disastrous war.
From August 1914 onwards, concert programs were placed wholly at the service of patriotism. Works that incorporated parts of anthems or patriotic songs or that addressed victorious emergence from battle, such as Beethoven’s Third and Fifth Symphonies, were performed. In October 1914, the Berlin press reported the “sixth rendition of the Eroica in Berlin in 36 hours.” A completely different picture emerges in 1918: throughout the world, Brahms symphonies shaped concert programs seeking to escape from political instrumentalization. The multiple performance of those symphonies in 1918 is a sign of how people used music to find a counterpart to offset the deplorable experiences of war. The Second Symphony fostered a sense of cheer, serenity, and relief.
November 12, 2018, 8 pm, OsnabrückHalle