NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra / Alan Gilbert

Schoenberg: A Survivor from Warsaw / Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 – Hamburg International Music Festival

This concert has already taken place! 17 | 37 | 64 | 86 | 107
This concert has already taken place! 17 | 37 | 64 | 86 | 107
Gerhild Romberger
Gerhild Romberger © Rosa Frank
Alan Gilbert
Alan Gilbert © Marco Borggreve / NDR
Dominique Horwitz
Dominique Horwitz © Ralf Brinkhoff

Musikalisches Mahnmal und ein weltberühmtes Finale

It only lasts seven minutes, but it is nonetheless monumental: Arnold Schoenberg’s melodrama »Ein Überlebender aus Warschau« (A Survivor from Warsaw). Schoenberg had readopted the Jewish faith, and he wrote the piece, which opens with a fierce trumpet signal, in 1947 to commemorate the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. The score mixes the narrative of a man hiding in the sewers with German commands, martial rhythms – and finally the hopeful Hebrew words »Schma Yisrael«, which the Jews use to prepare for death.

The part of the narrator is taken by Dominique Horwitz, himself the son of Jewish parents. The French-German actor and chansonnier is in great demand for performances of literary works of music, from Tom Waits’s »Black Rider« to Stravinsky’s »Histoire du soldat«. And the soloists in the second part of the programme likewise have resounding names: among them are the American soprano Susanna Phillips, alto Gerhild Romberger and baritone Michael Nagy.

»War and Peace« is the motto of the Hamburg International Music Festival, and chief conductor Alan Gilbert and his NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra place the emphasis on a work of hope and brotherly love: Beethoven’s world-famous Ninth Symphony. The overwhelming finale culminates in Friedrich Schiller’s lines »All men shall be brothers«, which win the day against all the powers of destruction. Beethoven not only touched a nerve in his own time by ending the symphony with a large-scale chorus of rejoicing: nowadays, everyone is familiar with the melody in the guise of the European anthem. Even the playing time of a compact disc, when the CD format was introduced, was geared to enable Beethoven’s oversized Ninth to be played without a break.


NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester

Rundfunkchor Berlin

Susanna Phillips soprano

Gerhild Romberger alto

Maximilian Schmitt tenor

Michael Nagy baritone

Dominique Horwitz narrator

conductor Alan Gilbert


Arnold Schönberg
A Survivor from Warsaw for narrator, men’s chorus and orchestra, Op. 46

Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125

Pre-Concert Talk

with Harald Hodeige (in German)

19:00 / Elbphilharmonie, Großer Saal

Estimated end time

approx. 21:30


NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra Subscription E


Hamburg International Music Festival

Live Broadcast

The concert will be broadcast live in the Elbphilharmonie Mediatheque.

Promoter: NDR

From the Mediatheque : Videos, Podcasts, Articles

Alan Gilbert conducts Beethoven and Schönberg
Play Video

Video on demand from 3 May 2024 : Alan Gilbert conducts Beethoven and Schönberg

Under the baton of its chief conductor, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra presents Schönberg’s »A Survivor from Warsaw« and Beethoven’s famous Ninth Symphony.

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