As a man and as a musician, Schubert personifies many of the main characteristics of 19th Century Romanticism. The world is a bad place and getting worse, nothing can be done – we must all just sit together and wait for the end. Art, therefore, is an escape from this awfulness. His Fifth Symphony, is, perhaps his lightest and most charmingly cheerful work, he expresses his love for Mozart and yearns for what he sees as the “brighter, better life” when he was still alive.
The massive and monumental work Ein Heldenleben, (A Hero’s Life), is clearly based on the life of Richard Strauss himself, although he was slow to admit this. The orchestra is vast. The Hero, played by eight horns, faces his enemies, the critics who he felt were unfair in his early career. His beloved wife, the singer Pauline de Ahna, takes centre stage, represented by beautiful and extremely virtuosic violin solos. With her by his side he faces his foes and, after a great battle, vanquishes them, retiring afterwards into tranquillity and fulfilment.
A vast and heroic concert to stir the soul.
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