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Daniel Harding’s appearance is supported by the Louise M. Davies Guest Conductor Fund.
Roughly translated as “A Hero’s Life,” Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben does not disappoint when it comes to depicting the drama and romance of its heroic subject. Swaggering, impassioned, and sweet, this irresistible orchestral showpiece opens with a grand flourish but is quick to point out that every hero has his enemies—here, heard through the soft hissing of cymbals, the snarling of the oboe, and the tuba’s trudging bass line. Yet every hero also has his love, and R. Strauss takes inspiration from his wife, soprano Pauline de Ahna, to depict the mercurial, alluring, and mischievous woman his protagonist desires. The program opens with renowned conductor and Music and Artistic Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra Daniel Harding, astonishing violist Antoine Tamestit (in his San Francisco Symphony debut) join the Orchestra for the US premiere of German composer Jörg Widmann’s playful and virtuousic Viola Concerto.