Liszt – A Faust Symphony
Thursday, 30 September 2021
Munich, Herkulessaal of the Residence
of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Concert starts at 8 pm
A Faust Ouverture
D minor WWV 59
Paraphrase on “Dies irae” for piano and orchestra
François-Frédéric Guy piano
A Faust Symphony
for tenor, male chorus and orchestra
Ilker Arcayürek tenor
Bavarian Radio Chorus
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
In his début at the helm of the BRSO Philippe Jordan, the music director of the Vienna State Opera since 2020, devotes himself to life’s dark side and a theme from world literature that has held composers spellbound time and time again: Faust. Franz Liszt, in the three movements of his Faust Symphony, delineates character studies of the three main figures – Faust, Gretchen and Mephistopheles. His symphony culminate in a mystical finale with chorus and solo tenor, invoking the power of forgiveness through what Goethe called “the eternal feminine”.
Wagner’s Faust Overture, on the other hand, is limited to the title figure, its sustained tempo describing his loneliness in his solitary study. Rounding off the programme is Liszt’s Danse macabre (Totentanz), a paraphrase on the Dies irae motif that is by turns apocalyptic, macabre and grotesque. Here, too, we hear the Faustian contest between Heaven and Hell.