Mariss Jansons is the principal conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and his joint projects with the chorus, headed by Howard Arman, are invariably highlights of the concert season. Now, for the first time in his Munich era, Maestro Jansons will conduct a Bruckner Mass, and since he is a great Bruckner conductor his choice fell on Mass No. 3 in F minor. Laid out on a symphonic scale, this monumental creation offers the Bavarian Radio Chorus and the quartet of young solo vocalists ingratiating tasks ranging from lyrical cantilena to mighty jubilation. Not by accident, the use of a solo violin and the introverted inflection recall Bruckner’s model, Beethoven’s Missa solemnis.
In the first half of the concert listeners can again welcome the soprano Diana Damrau, last heard with the Bavarian RSO in their “Klassik am Odeonsplatz” series. This time the Strauss specialist will treat listeners to the other-worldly beauty of the Four Last Songs, a work perfectly in tune with the crepuscule mood of Bruckner’s mysticism. Three settings of poems by Hesse lead to the Eichendorff setting “Im Abendrot” (At Sunset), which ends with the question “Is this perhaps Death?” – a question left unanswered, but lightened by a tranquil postlude from the orchestra.