Belgian National Orchestra – Hugh Wolff conductor – Mischa Maisky cello – Ilker Arcayürek tenor – Octopus Mannenkoor
Erlkönig Hans Werner Henze
Variations on a Rococo Theme, for Cello and Orchestra, op. 33 Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Eine Faust-Symphonie in drei Charakterbildern, nach J.W. von Goethe, S. 108, LW G 12 Franz Liszt
The devil's pact
Evil has the Klara Festival in its grip this year. The festival follows in the footsteps of Dr Faust and places its soul in Mephistopheles' hands. An appetite for comprehensive knowledge and disobedience plays a key role in this Faustian programme.
Franz Liszt took Goethe’s Faust on all his travels. In his Faust Symphony (1857), Liszt paints the portraits of the three main characters, Dr Faust, his love Gretchen and Mephistopheles, in a sophisticated way. Blinded by lust and ambition, Faust sold his soul to the devil. Salvation comes through the eternal female — the purity of spirit is immune to the devil's temptations. Freed from Mephistopheles' grip, angels lead Faust to heaven.
“My son, why do you hide your face in fear?” Werner Henze’s desperate father tries to protect his child from the grim spirit of the Erlköning (1996). The malicious Fairy King, who escapes from Schubert's eponymous song inspired by Goethe’s ballad, spreads his tentacles over Hans Werner Henze’s sinister composition. If we can believe Tchaikovsky, the devil took possession of his Rococo Variations. Without the composer's knowledge, cellist Wilhelm Fitzhagen made changes before the premiere in 1877. Tchaikovsky was furious!