Piano Concerto in F minor
- Markus Becker – Piano
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
About the concert
As usual, an unusual programme awaits during the 2022/2023 season when Ingo Metzmacher visits. As the evening’s overture, the former DSO principal conductor interprets ‘Casino’, a new work by Anton Plate, whose music he has already championed multiple times as chief musical director of the Hamburg State Opera.
Metzmacher is joined by pianist Markus Becker as soloist in Max Reger’s great Piano Concerto composed in 1910. The artist has long been interested in the composer, whose entire solo works he presented in the 1990s in a recording that was praised as a pioneering achievement. However, he only included the Piano Concerto in his repertoire in 2017. In an interview about his recording with the NDR Radiophilharmonie, Becker describes the work, which Reger himself saw as a “counterpart” to Brahms’ D minor Concerto, as “powerful, fascinating” but also “wilful music”. For the expressive and technically demanding concerto, notated in powerful chords, the same applies as for Reger’s tonal language in general: “When you approach it [...] and start to unravel the music, to make it transparent and speaking, you enter a fantastic world of sound.”
A fantastic world of sound undoubtedly also presents itself to the audience in ‘Harmonielehre’ (‘Study of Harmony’), which the American pianist John Adams wrote during a residency with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in the 1980s. The title refers to the textbook of the same name by Arnold Schoenberg. Adams’ relationship to the founder of the Second Viennese School is characterised by both respect and critical distance. The laborious and lengthy process of creation resulted in what the composer called a “commitment to tonality”, from which Schoenberg had departed, and represents a “unique attempt to combine the chromaticism of the fin de siècle with the rhythmic and formal procedures of minimalism”. Ingo Metzmacher presents this fascinating work again in the Casual Concert the following day, using orchestral examples and lots of interesting information, before it can finally be heard in its entirety with new ears.