Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Presents Bruckner & Strauss: Nature, Love & Longing

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In a Nutshell

Backed by an esteemed orchestra, soprano Joni Henson evokes time- and space-traversing visions of love, adventure, and mortality

The Fine Print

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The Deal

Bruckner & Strauss: Nature, Love & Longing

Soprano Joni Henson, conductor Alexander Mickelthwate, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra connect listeners with Strauss’s meditation on death, then bring them to the Austrian countryside with one of Anton Bruckner’s most popular masterpieces.

  • Strauss—Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs): Even though the title of this collection was provided by Strauss’s friend Ernst Roth, looking at it makes it pretty easy to guess what it’s about. Written when Strauss was 84, all four focus on life and death. The first three—”Fruhling” (Spring), “September,” and “Beim Schalfengehen” (“When Falling Asleep”)—were adapted from poems by Herman Hesse, and the fourth is adapted from Joseph von Eichendorff’s “Im Abendrot” (“At Sunset”). That last one resonated particularly strongly with Strauss, who used its final line to end the collection: “Is this perhaps death?”
  • Bruckner—Symphony No. 4 in E-flat major: When the composer himself nicknamed this symphony “Romantic”, he was referring not to the 21st Century definition of romance, but to the Medieval literary genre that brims with legends and quests. Like a shimmering knight on horseback, his four-part symphony emphasizes movement, enticing the audience with visions of Austrian hunts, festivals, and forests.

Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

As early as 1880, the prairies of Winnipeg were filled with music. Orchestras, both amateur and semi-professional, unleashed their cultural impact on the city, with nearly 30 formed between the late 19th century and 1947. But they weren't content with their small scale, and in 1944, at least 20 smaller organizations joined forces to form the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, sharing talent, passion, and answers for their conductors pop quizzes. Within a decade, the CBC began broadcasting WSO concerts, and by 1990, the orchestra had more than 10,000 subscribers.


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