Friday 22 November

Four Last Songs

RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra

Time 7:30pm
National Concert Hall Dublin

Tickets: from €15 more info

  • Anja Bihlmaier
  • Ailish Tynan
  • Anders Hillborg

    Exquisite Corpse / 14’ Irish premiere

  • R. Strauss

    Vier Letze Lieder (Four Last Songs) / 24’

  • Brahms

    Symphony No.1 / 45’

Please  note: This concert will be preceded at 6.30pm by Soundings free pre-concert talk with Anja Bihlmaier and Ailish Tynan in conversation.

Anja Bihlmaier – hailed as ‘one of the best German conductors of her generation’ (Helsingen Sanomat) – makes her much-anticipated debut with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra with a heart-melting set of songs, a symphony carved out of effort and emotion and the first performance in Ireland of an entertaining and often beautiful musical collage

Don’t be fooled by the title, Swedish composer Anders Hillborg’s Exquisite Corpse is startlingly alive with throbbing energy and unsettling atmospheres. Laced with allusions to the other-worldly music of Ligeti, Stravinsky and Sibelius, it is a ‘lushly orchestrated adventurous blast of a piece’ (Broad Street Review).

Richard Strauss was 84 when he wrote his heart-wrenching Four Last Songs. They deal with the prospect of approaching death in what the eminent critic Neville Cardus described as ‘the most beautifully delivered farewell in all music’. Couched in a state of dark rapture, the soprano voice floating serenely above a bed of orchestral embers that flare into life and subside again, the result is ravishingly gorgeous and hypnotic. Bathed in a golden, burnished glow, this brittle, bittersweet music is guaranteed to melt your heart. Expect something special from soloist Ailish Tynan’s ‘lyric voice of delicious purity’ (Opera Now).

Brahms put himself through the wringer composing his First Symphony, taking 21 years to complete it. The wait was worth it. From the titanic struggle of its opening to the muscle-flexing drama of the finale, it’s a journey of epic dimensions that set its sights on exciting new horizons.