There can be no denying that Richard Strauss made history as an opera composer: »Salome«, »Elektra«, »Der Rosenkavalier«, »Ariadne auf Naxos«, »Frau ohne Schatten« and »Capriccio« are enthralling dramas of overwhelming beauty. But before his gift for opera came to the fore, Strauss had already written a considerable number of tone poems – orchestral pieces that vividly illustrate non-musical stories or moods.
When he set about composing his »Alpine Symphony« in 1911, he had essentially come to the end of the line with this genre. Nonetheless, with the new score he completed a trilogy that had begun with »Ein Heldenleben« and »Sinfonia domestica«, and had one focus: the depiction of nature in music. He does so especially realistically in the »Alpine Symphony«, incorporating the sound of cowbells, a wind machine and thunder effects. For chief conductor Alan Gilbert, this impressive orchestral work is also a call for greater awareness in this era of climate change of the great beauty of nature and the landscape that the music portrays.
»The Alpine Symphony adopts at once the feelings of anyone overwhelmed or filled with trepidation, with passion or grief or joy, by observation of all the magnificence of nature.«
Walter Werbeck, musicologist
NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra
Conductor Alan Gilbert
Alpine Symphony, op. 64