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Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck returns to the SF Symphony to lead a program of ballroom elegance and intoxicating Romanticism. Hear a bevy of spirited works by the Viennese “King of the Waltz” Johann Strauss Jr., as well as the sumptuous Overture to his operetta Die Fledermaus. Also on the program: Schumann’s enchanting Piano Concerto, performed by acclaimed German pianist Lars Vogt; The Dragonfly (a polka-mazurka by Strauss, Jr.'s brother Josef); and Von Suppé‘s glittering Overture to Poet and Peasant.
Complimentary shuttle service will not be available for this concert. We apologize for this interruption.
At a Glance
SUPPÉ Overture to Poet and Peasant 1846 | 9 mins
JOSEPH STRAUSS The Dragonfly, Polka Mazurka, Opus 2014 1866 | 5 mins
J. STRAUSS, Jr.
Franz von Suppé is credited with establishing the genre of Viennese operetta, as distinct from contemporaneous French operettas by Offenbach and others. Although Suppé was an esteemed conductor at Vienna’s leading opera houses and many of his operettas were hits, he never reached quite the height of Johann Strauss, Jr. The eldest son of renowned composer and band leader Johann Strauss, Strauss, Jr. struck it big at nineteen when he made his first public appearance conducting his own ensemble in his own music. He went on to compose almost 500 pieces of dance music (earning the well-deserved nickname “The Waltz King”) as well as numerous operettas. His most enduring work is Die Fledermaus, which charmed audiences with its story of extramarital flirtation, spousal disguise, and clever revenge, all of which is washed down with a stream of laughter and a river of champagne. Strauss, Jr.’s younger brother Josef Strauss did not at first seem pointed toward music, becoming, among other things, an accomplished visual artist and landscape architect. Eventually he too was drawn to the family business, emerging as a bandleader and dance composer, particularly adept with waltzes and polkas.
What makes for a great piano concerto? In 1839 Schumann wrote: “[W]e must await the genius who will show us in a newer and more brilliant way how orchestra and piano may be combined, how the soloist, dominant at the keyboard, may unfold the wealth of his instrument and his art, while the orchestra, no longer a mere spectator, may interweave its manifold facets into the scene.” That much-awaited genius would end up being Schumann himself. In 1841, he composed a one-movement Concert Phantasie for Piano and Orchestra. It didn’t make a huge splash, yet was also too good to abandon. Four years later Schumann went back and revised it into the first movement of his Piano Concerto in A minor. Now one of his most popular pieces, listeners will be struck by how much the piano and the orchestra interact.
Steven Ziegler is Managing Editor and Jeanette Yu is Editorial Director of the San Francisco Symphony.
Inside Music: an informative talk by Laura Stanfield Prichard, begins one hour prior to concerts. Free to ticketholders; doors open 15 minutes before. Learn More.
Off-The-Podium: a post-concert Q & A opportunity for the audience to ask questions of Lars Vogt on February 22 and 23. There will not be a post-concert Q&A following the Sunday matinee on February 24, 2019.
Post-Concert: Lars Vogt February 23-24 will sign CD's following the concert in the Orchestra lobby.