HARDING, DVOŘÁK & BRAHMS
Daniel Harding and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra meet the world singer Christian Gerhaher in a concert with music by Antonin Dvořák and Johannes Brahms. Dvořák’s concert overture Othello is named after Shakespeare’s play, and the music contains both thrilling drama and dreamy sounds. The concert is crowned with Brahms’ powerful Fourth Symphony – a work that begins suddenly, ”in medias res”, as if you opened a door to an orchestra that is already playing.
The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra is known worldwide as one of Europe’s most versatile orchestras with an exciting and varied repertoire and a constant striving to break new ground The multi-award-winning orchestra has been praised for its exceptional, wide-ranging musicianship as well as collaborations with the world’s foremost composers, conductors and soloists.
Permanent home of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra since 1979 is Berwaldhallen, the Swedish Radio’s concert hall. In addition to the audience in the hall, the orchestra reaches many many listeners on the radio and the web and through it´s partnership with EBU. Several concerts are also broadcast and streamed on Berwaldhallen Play and with Swedish Television, offering the audience more opportunities to come as close as possible to one of the world’s top orchestras.
“The orchestra has a unique combination of humility, sensibility and musical imagination”, says Daniel Harding, Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2007. “I have never had a concert with the orchestra where they haven’t played as though their lives depended on it!”
The first radio orchestra was founded in 1925, the same year that the Swedish Radio Service began its broadcasts. The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra received its current name in 1967. Through the years, the orchestra has had several distinguished Music Directors. Two of them, Herbert Blomstedt and Esa-Pekka Salonen, have since been appointed Conductors Laureate.
Daniel Harding is Music and Artistic Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, with whom in 2022 he celebrated his 15-year anniversary. In the 2014/15 season he devised and curated the celebrated Interplay Festival, presenting a series of concerts and related inspirational talks involving artists, academics, scientists and philosophers. As Artistic Director he continues this type of influential programming at Berwaldhallen. He is also Conductor Laureate of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, with whom he has worked for over 20 years.
A renowned opera conductor, he has led critically acclaimed productions at the Teatro alla Scala Milan, Theater an der Wien, Wiener Staatsoper, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and at the Aix-en-Provence and Salzburg Festivals. He continues to work regularly with the Wiener Philharmoniker, Berliner Philharmoniker, Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Filarmonica della Scala Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle and the London Symphony Orchestra. In 2018 he was named Artistic Director of the Anima Mundi Festival.
Daniel Harding’s tenure as Music and Artistic Director will last throughout the 2024/25 season. “It is increasingly rare that the relationship between a conductor and an orchestra not only lasts for more than a decade, but keeps growing,” he says about working with the orchestra. “It is also rare for an orchestra of the highest musical standard to very obviously want to keep on growing.”
After playing the trumpet in his youth, he discovered conducting as a teenager. 17 years old, he led a performance of Arnold Schönberg’s Pierrot lunaire with a student ensemble, which led to assisting Simon Rattle with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for a year. His time with Rattle and the orchestra ended with Harding’s professional debut, conducting the orchestra himself.
In 2002, Harding was awarded the title Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government, and in 2017 nominated to the position Officier des Arts et Lettres. In 2012, he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. In 2021, he was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. He is also a qualified airline pilot.
Julia Kretz-Larsson, violin, has studied with Marianne Boettcher and Thomas Brandis in Berlin and with Josef Suk in Prague. With the Julius Stern Piano Trio, she has won various awards at international competitions. She is a member of the chamber music ensemble Spectrum Concerts Berlin, which has its own concert series in the Berliner Philharmonie Kammermusiksaal and with which she also played in halls such as Carnegie Hall in New York and Concertgebouw Amsterdam. In 2006, Julia Kretz-Larsson became a member of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, led by Claudio Abbado, and since 2008 she has been a member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, from 2011 as conductor. Julia has been the alternate first concertmaster in the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2015 and is a teacher at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm.Julia has regularly played chamber music concerts with several international artists and has performed at festivals such as the Salzburger Festspiele, the International Chamber Music Festival Utrecht, Julian Rachlin and Friends, Schubertiade, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the Winter Festival. She has recorded chamber music for, among others, BIS, NAXOS, dB Productions, Harmonia Mundi and has won the music award ” Grammis” for the recording with music by Amanda Maier.
Malin Broman is First Concertmaster of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and an internationally sought-after soloist, having visited the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Copenhagen Philharmonic, and the Gothenburg Symphony, among others.
From 2015 to 2020, Malin served as Artistic Director of the Musica Vitae Chamber Orchestra, and succeeded Sakari Oramo as Artistic Director of the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra in 2019. She has also appeared as musical director/soloist with Tapiola Sinfonietta, Scottish Ensemble, Nordic Chamber Orchestra, Västerås Sinfonietta, Trondheim Soloists, Lapland Chamber Orchestra and the ACO Collective – the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s string ensemble.
Over the last few years, Broman has performed world premieres of violin concertos by Britta Byström, Andrea Tarrodi and Daniel Nelson. She has recorded over 30 discs, among them Carl Nielsen’s and Britta Byström’s concertos. Her recording of Mendelssohn’s double concerto for violin and piano with Musica Vitae and Simon Crawford Phillips was nominated for a Grammy in 2019. She has also made many recordings with celebrated ensemble the Kungsbacka Piano Trio.
Among Malin Broman’s latest recordings can be mentioned an album with music by Laura Netzel, as well as a recording with the Ostrobothnia Chamber Orchestra, Stockholm Diary, with works by, among others, Salonen and Stravinsky. In the spring of 2020, Broman filmed a noted recording of her playing all eight parts of Felix Mendelssohn’s String Octet. Since then she has made another two recordings according to a similar concept, A Room of One´s Own to Malin Broman x 8 by Britta Byström, and a recording with the solo contra bassist of The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Rick Stotijn.
Malin Broman is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, and Professor of Viola at the Edsbergs Institute of Music. In the spring of 2019, she was awarded H.M. the King’s eighth size medal for her considerable contributions to the Swedish music industry. She plays a Stradivarius violin from 1709 and a Bajoni viola from 1861, borrowed from the Järnåker Foundation.
Johannes Brahms wrote his symphonies in pairs: the first and second during the years 1876-1877 and the third and fourth between 1883 and 1885. The first three were immediately highly successful, but Brahms himself was initially dubious about the fourth. Such was the composer’s need for a second opinion that he made an arrangement for two pianos that he and the pianist and composer Ignaz Brüll performed to a small, select group of friends.
But the work was not warmly received. After the first movement the music critic Eduard Hanslick, who was otherwise so positive about Brahms’s music, is said to have stated: “Throughout the movement it felt as if I was being beaten up by two terribly intelligent people.” His good friend Max Kalbeck was deeply disappointed, and begged Brahms to scrap the two middle movements, which he found inappropriate. The violinist Joseph Joachim, another close friend and collaborator, was likewise bemused. But in the course of time, after having heard the orchestral version, they all changed their minds and came to consider the fourth symphony one of Brahms’s very greatest works.
It’s easy for today’s music aficionados to dismiss these initial reactions as being ill‑considered, but if the response is instead taken seriously it actually provides a key to understanding the work. Joachim had the idea of starting the first movement with two bars of held chords. This suggestion indicates an important feature, namely that the symphony begins abruptly, in medias res, as if opening the door on an orchestra that has already played several bars. Hanslick’s reaction draws attention to the violent nature of the first movement. The symphony is sometimes deemed to be tragic, but it can equally be described as being acerbic or astringent.
Kalbeck, who criticised the middle movements, was the only one to approve of the final movement even after only having heard the piano version. Others did not think it could hold its own as a symphonic finale, in part probably because it remains in the minor throughout, even ending with a minor chord – something that was, and is, relatively unusual. Another reason may have been the fact that the last movement is a passacaglia – a form deriving from a dance popular during the Baroque period and comprising a series of variations over a bass line or chord sequence.
Text: Tore Eriksson
Approximate concert lenght: 1 h 40 min including intermission
PÅ MINUTEN INTAR BERWALDHALLEN 2021
The popular Swedish radio show På minuten is being recorded live at Berwaldhallen
EPIPHANY CONCERT 2022
Warmth and intimacy characterise Epiphany at Berwaldhallen. Start the year with a passionate musical journey together with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Choir and exceptional soloists. A thoroughly moving evening to invigorate frozen winter souls. Broadcasted on SVT.