Case med texten Case med texten

Salzburg, Grosses Festspielhaus Gothenburg Symphony plays in Salzburg

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra on tour with chief conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali and violinist Arabella Steinbacher.

Concert length: 2 h incl. intermission

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra plays in Salzburg together with chief conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali and violinist Arabella Steinbacher.


Allegro non troppo Adagio Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace At Lake Wörthersee in Austrian Kärnten lies the small idyllic town of Pörtschach. The German composer Johannes Brahms spent the summers of 1877-1879 there. He wandered in the beautiful surroundings and felt so harmonious and happy that the first summer he composed his second symphony in D major and the following summer his violin concerto, also in D major, an unusually positive key for the composer, who was often considered heavy-hearted and worried. The middle of the 1870s and the beginning of the 1880s was the time of the great orchestral works for Brahms, who had previously devoted most of his time to songs, piano, organ pieces and chamber music apart from his great Ein deutsches Requiem from 1868. The second piano concerto, the violin concerto and all four symphonies was created 1876-1885. One of Brahms' best friends was Joseph Joachim, already a successful solo violinist when they both met in their 20s. It was also Joachim who introduced him to Robert and Clara Schumann in 1853, an important event in Brahms' career and life. Since he was not very familiar with the violin's technical possibilities, Joachim became his advisor during the composition of the violin concerto. It became a struggle from time to time, Joachim wanted the concert to show his virtuosity in an emotional romantic spirit. Brahms would rather have a dialogue and an equal interplay between orchestra and soloist, demanding for the solo violin, of course, but not a show number of empty display. This does not prevent Brahms' only violin concerto from being a test of strength for the soloist. At first, the composer wanted a four-movement concerto. But he soon realized that it did not fit into his arrangement of the work. The intended scherzo movement was removed. Brahms is said to have said that there was such an abundance of melodies in Pörtschach that one had to be careful not to step on them! After the orchestra's introduction with powerful rhythmic sections, the soloist gets to begin his interpretation of the energetic music in dialogue with the orchestra. Then everything stops for the soloist's solo cadenza, which at the premiere showed Joachim's fantastic improvisation skills. It was eventually written down and is still often played, although several famous violinists have made their own. At today's concert, however, we get to hear Brahms' approved version of Joachim's cadenza. The second movement is a wonderful, idyllic contrast. It is the oboe that gets to introduce its long beautiful melody before the solo violin takes over for an equally breathless continuation. As a Rococo-inspired depiction of nature in pastoral harmony and sincerity. The third movement has the designation "allegro giocoso" - a playful allegro - but not too fast. Joachim's Hungarian background is celebrated in both the virtuoso solo part and the orchestra's equal expression of joy in the folk dance rhythms of the rondo form and a furiously accelerating ending. At the premiere in Leipzig on New Year's Day 1879, Johannes Brahms himself was at the conductor's desk. The reviewer Dörffel wrote that "Joachim played with such love and affection that in every measure he could directly or indirectly convey how much he was involved in the work's creation". Today, Johannes Brahms' violin concerto is one of the most played and loved. Time has caught up with both content and technology.

Intermission 25 min

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) Symphony No. 6 Pathetique Op 74 Few symphonies contain as many outbursts of emotion and sudden mood swings as Tchaikovsky's Sixth, with the telling title Pathétique ("passionate suffering"). It reflects his mano-depressive personality, he suffered throughout his life from crises and often struggled with illness and depression. Tchaikovsky's death in Saint Petersburg, just nine days after he conducted the premiere, also gave the work a tragic aura right from the start. It was even said that the music deliberately foreshadowed his own death, which occurred after he drank cholera-tainted water. Even today, musicologists disagree whether it was an accident or a forced suicide, to avoid public scandal as a homosexual. Tchaikovsky was only 53 years old at the time and the most celebrated Russian composer, with a great international reputation. It was a second attempt at a new symphony, and the first sketches became instead the one-movement Third Piano Concerto in E flat major. After overcoming a creative crisis, new ideas began to flow, and he wrote to his nephew, Vladimir Davidov, about the new composition. "It is full of subjective feeling, so much so that I often shed tears. I consider this symphony the best thing I have ever done. In any case, it is the most emotionally profound". Is the sixth symphony really a self-composed requiem? This theory is fueled by the "dark" key of B minor, which stands for great passion and tragedy, and by the unusual structure. The main motif that runs throughout the work consists of a plaintive, descending second interval. The gloomy character of the symphony is clear already in the first movement, with its slow, dark introduction. The second movement is reminiscent of Don José's flower aria from Bizet's opera Carmen, which Tchaikovsky greatly admired. Towards the end of the movement there is a chorale-like funeral march, and even a quote from the Russian Orthodox funeral liturgy. The second movement provides some lightening, and Tchaikovsky wrote it in an elegant 5/4 time signature, which is a fairly common time signature in Russian folk music. The "limping" character makes the movement almost humorous, despite the loving waltz or minuet-like style. In the third movement he returns to the march as an idea, but it begins as a frisky scherzo that gradually unfolds in its full life-affirming power. The fourth movement is the most famous in the symphony, and is partly reminiscent of a mournful requiem. The main theme is characterized by sighing motifs, and at the end the music fades into a low string chord in B minor. Tchaikovsky considered the symphony to be his most important, most personal composition, but the premiere was received cautiously, and Tchaikovsky unfortunately did not experience the work's later triumph. That the symphony has life and death as a running theme can hardly be denied, but whether it is in any way related to Tchaikovsky's own death remains a mystery.

Friday 17 November 2023: The event ends at approx. 21.00


The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1905 and currently consists of 109 musicians. The orchestra is based in Gothenburg Concert Hall – a gem of functionalism on Götaplatsen square that has enchanted music lovers since 1935. Wilhelm Stenhammar was the orchestra’s Chief Conductor from 1907 until 1922. He gave the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra a strong Nordic profile and invited his colleagues Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius to collaborate with the orchestra. Under the leadership of Chief Conductor Neeme Järvi between 1982 and 2004, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra undertook a number of international tours and made a hundred or so album recordings while establishing itself as one of Europe’s foremost orchestras. In 1997 the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra received the title of the National Orchestra of Sweden. Since season 2017-2018 Santtu-Matias Rouvali is Chief Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. Since season 2019-2020 Barbara Hannigan is Principal Guest Conductor. Christoph Eschenbach was also Principal Guest Conductor of Gothenburg Symphony in the years 2019-2022 – together they formed a strong three-leaf clover consisting of three completely different types of artists. We are also extremely proud to be an official partner of soprano Barbara Hannigan’s mentor initiative Equilibrium, with focus on young singers and musicians who are just beginning their careers. Sten Cranner is the orchestra’s CEO and Artistic Director, while Gustavo Dudamel holds the title of Honorary Conductor and Neeme Järvi that of Principal Conductor Emeritus. Region Västra Götaland is owner of the orchestra. The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra works regularly with conductors such as Herbert Blomstedt, Joana Carneiro, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Christian Zacharias and Anja Bihlmaier.

Since 2017, Santtu-Matias Rouvali is the chief conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. He also has a successful international career as a conductor and has been hailed by The Guardian as "the Finnish conductor tradition's senesta stortade påvning man bara muste lysna på". Since 2021, Santtu-Matias Rouvali is also the chief conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. He has toured with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and pianist Hélène Grimaud in Nordic capitals as well as with pianist Alice Sara Ott and percussionist Martin Grubinger in Germany. The years 2013-2022 Santtu-Matias Rouvali was chief conductor and artistic director of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra in Finland. During the 2023-2024 season, Santtu-Matias Rouvali will continue to collaborate with orchestras at the top level throughout Europe and the USA, such as the BBC Proms, the New York Philharmonic and many more. He collaborates with soloists such as Leif Ove Andsnes, Arabella Steinbacher, Nemanja Radulovic, Leonidas Kavakos, Bruce Liu, Alice Sara Ott, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Vadim Gluzman, Randall Goosby and Vilde Frang. When he is not conducting, he devotes himself to farming and fishing at his farm outside Tampere.

Arabella Steinbacher is hailed as one of today's leading soloists, known for her varied repertoire consisting of music from Glazunov to Gubaidulina. Highlights of the 2023-2024 season include the tour with the Gothenburg Symphony and concerts with orchestras such as the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, Münchner Symphoniker, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra. Arabella Steinbacher will also return to the Klosters Festival in Switzerland, where she performs with the Kammerakademie Potsdam, and to the Beethoven Festival in Warsaw. Other orchestras she has collaborated with include the New York Philharmonic, Boston, Chicago and Seattle Symphony Orchestras, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Dresdner Philharmonie, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. She has toured extensively with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchester Philharmonique de Strasbourg and the Deutsche Radiophilharmonie Saarbrücken. Arabella Steinbacher works with conductors such as Marin Alsop, Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph von Dohnányi, Christoph Eschenbach, Andris Nelsons and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Her latest recording with the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester exclusively for Pentatone brings together works by Arvo Pärt and Johann Sebastian Bach. Previous recordings include her highly acclaimed Mozart cycle with Festival Strings Lucerne and the critically acclaimed Four Seasons by both Astor Piazzolla and Antonio Vivaldi. Born into a musical family, she has been playing the violin since the age of three and began her studies with Ana Chumachenco at the University of Music and Theater Munich when she was eight. Arabella currently plays Antonio Stradivari violins, Cremona, 1718, known as "ex Benno Walter", and Guarneri del Gesù "Sainton", Cremona, 1744, both generously provided by a private Swiss foundation. Arabella Steinbacher made her first appearance with the Gothenburg Symphony in 2009 in Dvorák's violin concerto.

Questions? Contact the ticket office
Hot Rays and Fairy Tales in the Night
11 Oct 19.30

Burning beauty with the Gothenburg Symphony, Santtu-Matias Rouvali conductor and Arabella Steinbacher violin.

Purchase tickets
Feel the Passion in Pathétique
19 Oct 19.30

Get seduced by the Gothenburg Symphony, Santtu-Matias Rouvali conductor, Olivier Latry organ, Roger Carlsson and Walter Witick percussion.

Purchase tickets
Gothenburg Symphony plays in Salzburg
16 Nov 19.00

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra on tour with chief conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali and violinist Arabella Steinbacher.

Read more
Out of the Ashes Towards the Top
13 Mar 19.30

Empowering music with the Gothenburg Symphony and conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali.

Purchase tickets
Modern Classic and a Beloved Piano Piece
24 Apr 19.30

Virtuose playing with the Gothenburg Symphony, Santtu-Matias Rouvali conductor and Bruce Liu piano, and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.

Purchase tickets
Holst The Planets
24 May 18.00

A colorful musical adventure with the Gothenburg Symphony, Santtu-Matias Rouvali conductor and Leonidas Kavakos violin. Lighting design: Mikki Kunttu.

Purchase tickets
Percussionist vid pukor med stockar i handen, omgiven av röd sammet.

Experience the concert magic!

Every note taken has the power to set in motion a movement in the atmosphere, with power to carry through generations. Discover the concerts of the season and let us create lasting impressions together.

Discover the concerts of the season