Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks - BRSO

Sir Simon Rattle: Gurre-Lieder

April 2024
8:00 pm
Munich, Gasteig HP8, Isarphilharmonie

Gala Concert for the 75th Anniversary of the BRSO
Introduction: 6:45 pm

Special concert
April 2024
7:00 pm
Munich, Gasteig HP8, Isarphilharmonie

Introduction: 5:45 pm

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Arnold Schönberg
Oratorio in three parts for soli, speaker, choir and orchestra


Sir Simon Rattle conductor
Simon O'Neill tenor
Dorothea Röschmann soprano
Jamie Barton mezzo-soprano
Josef Wagner bass-baritone
Peter Hoare tenor
Thomas Quasthoff speaker
Bavarian Radio Chorus
MDR Chorus chorus
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Unfortunately, Stuart Skelton had to cancel his participation in the performances of the “Gurre-Lieder” for health reasons. We are very grateful to Simon O’Neill, who is taking over the role of Waldemar at the concerts at short notice.

Concert video

Sir Simon Rattle © Astrid Ackermann

Information about the programme

Is it an oratorio? Or perhaps a song cycle? A symphony? An opera? Schönberg’s Gurre-Lieder does not fit into any category – it barely even fits on a stage: over three hundred performers are required, including the largest orchestra a composer had ever required. In this case, “enormous” does not just denote the size of the performing forces. With its immense sound, Schönberg’s setting of a wild, romantic fairytale poem by Jens Peter Jacobsen can only be described as gigantic, exuberant, and overwhelming, and represents the final peak of late Romanticism (or its glowing swan song). This monumental work has only been performed three times in the history of the BRSO: in 1965 with Rafael Kubelík conducting, in 1988 with Zubin Mehta, and in 2009 with Mariss Jansons (which, incidentally, was the year of the BRSO’s 60th anniversary). Sir Simon Rattle has adored Gurre-Lieder from an early age, and describes it as “sexy, elegant, sensual.” A more fitting work for this gala would be impossible to find. The BRSO is turning 75, Schönberg 150 – and in this case, more is more!

Rafael Kubelík © BR/Sessner

“Gurre-Lieder” with Rafael Kubelík

Arnold Schönberg’s “Gurre-Lieder” were also on the programme of the BRSO’s 9th concert on March 10, 1965. At that time under the direction of Rafael Kubelík. The soloists were Inge Borkh, Hertha Töpper and Herbert Schachtschneider. Here is a short excerpt from “Munich, Portrait of a City of Music”, which was broadcast on Bavarian television in 1965.

Further concerts

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Mon, 24 Jun, 7:00 pm
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Fri, 28 Jun, 8:00 pm
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Wed, 17 Jul, 7:00 pm
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Michael Volle © Gisela Schenker
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