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May, 2004 - Nr. 5


The Editor
Meiner Mutter
Vorsicht Satire!
Rachel Seilern
Zurich Connection
A World of Contrast
Dear Mom
KW & Beyond
The Ritchie Boys
Hansa Club's 40th
Anniversary Celebration
Unter dem Motto
Concordia Choir Concert
A lose-lose Ending?
At the CKWR Studio
Toronto has the Sound
Youth Culture
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Health Newsletter
German Heavyweights
Tafelmusik in Parry Sound
Harbourfront Centre Events
Nature's Perfect Gems
Support for Shaw Festival
MoMA in Berlin
Brothers Grimm Movie
Lessons from Dresden
Frauenkirche nears Completion
Lufthansa News
"Radio Goethe"
Rudolf Stussi Exhibition
Biography - A Game
Snow Sport Show
Schumi Continues Sweep
Germany against Canada
Travel 'Smart'
Building Bridges
Most Contented Germans
Population Dwindling

Toronto Symphony Orchestra


Gunther Herbig, conductor
May 19 at 8 PM & May 20 at 2 PM
Roy Thomson Hall

Toronto, Ontario – For fans of the Germanic repertoire, this is a concert to savour. Wagner was the high priest of the German Romantic era; his Siegfried Idyll was written to be played on the steps leading to his wife’s bedroom, to gently awaken her. Romantic indeed; as is the name of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4. Gunther Herbig, the former Music Director of the TSO, returns to Toronto to conduct these two fine compositions.

Gunther Herbig was the TSO’s Music Director from 1989 to 1994, bringing acclaim and a sense of the European tradition to the TSO. Maestro Herbig has established himself as a prominent conductor in the international music world in particular, building a strong career in America since 1980. Previous to his reign here, he was Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for six years. After Toronto, he gave up his position to enable him to work in Europe more often. He continues to live in Michigan. Gunther Herbig’s first opportunity in the West came in 1979 when he was invited to be Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Since moving to the USA in 1984, he has appeared with all the great American Orchestras, and has toured internationally, including the Far East and Europe with the TSO. From 1990 to 1997 he was the visiting Professor of Conducting at Yale University. He has recorded more than 100 works, some of which were with the East German orchestras with whom he was associated prior to moving to the West. Since then he has made recordings with several of the London orchestras, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and others. Toronto is pleased to welcome him back to the podium of Roy Thomson Hall.

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) dominated the second half of the Romantic period – he simply picked up the reigns left by Beethoven and assumed the role of successor. The 19th century established art as religion; Wagner declared himself the high priest. Others wrote large, ambitious works; Wagner wrote epic music dramas with world-transforming intentions. He was photographed in silks and satins. "By nature," he once wrote, "I am luxurious, prodigal, and extravagant, much more than Sardanap and all the other old emperors." He might have said the same of his own music. The Siegfried Idyll is Wagner’s most popular orchestral work, and his most intimate. It is tranquil and introspective, a clear reflection of the contentment he found in his newly established home with his wife Cosima. Other themes in the piece come from a German nursery rhyme and a few ideas from his opera Siegfried, Wagner created a loving, gentle orchestral lullaby for a miniature orchestra. Both Wagner and Cosima felt that this work was something connected to the intimacy of their marriage, so it was with some pain that Wagner, in a time of financial difficulty, sent it off to a publisher in November 1877. Cosima was saddened, but resigned. She confided to her diary, "The secret treasure is to become public property." It was her loss, but definitely our gain.

Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) was a little, timid organist with gargantuan ideas. He idolized Wagner, at whose feet he once fell crying, "Master, I worship you!" But for all his prolixity and his obsequiousness to Wagner, Bruckner had a singular and powerful musical personality, and a contrapuntal mastery that makes his nine symphonies into densely woven polyphonic designs. Public reception of his works were hit and miss; at the premiere of his Third Symphony in Vienna, he conducted with a large house and by the work’s end all but twenty-five of the audience members skipped out. Bruckner cried on the podium. But the 1881 premiere of his Fourth Symphony was a major victory, and he won public acclaim. All nine of his symphonies are somewhat similar – large, brassy in the manner of Wagner, but with a uniquely Brucknerian lyricism, notably in the expansive slow movements (big adagios were among the propensities his pupil Mahler picked up). The "Romantic" Symphony is relatively light – for Bruckner.

These concerts are sponsored by Acura as part of the Acura May Concert Series. 

Tickets: $98, $77, $65, $32.
Call the Roy Thomson Hall box office at 416 593 4828.
Mon-Fri, 9-8. Sat, 12-5. Sun, 2 hrs prior to concert start. VISA/MC/AMEX.
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
#550 – 212 King Street West, Toronto, ON, M5H 1K5
Marketing fax: 416 593 8660 www.tso.ca

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