2017 Summer-night Concert from Vienna


2017

Katie Derham introduces the 2017 open-air concert from the magnificent gardens of the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, given by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.


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Transcript


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MUSIC: Te Deum: Marche En Rondeau (Prelude) by Charpentier

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Hello, and a warm welcome to the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna

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for this year's Summer Night Concert,

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given by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,

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led by the German conductor Christoph Eschenbach.

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Fairy tale and myth weave their magical way

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through all of tonight's music,

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with favourites by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky,

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even film music by John Williams.

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But first a Carnival Overture by Dvorak -

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a musical portrait of a carnival in full flow.

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Everywhere is the clamour of instruments

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mingled with shouts of joy.

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APPLAUSE

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Dvorak's Carnival Overture. The Vienna Philharmonic,

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conducted by Christoph Eschenbach, setting us off to a rousing start.

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As well as conducting,

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Christoph Eschenbach is a virtuoso pianist,

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and one of his regular musical partners

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is the American soprano Renee Fleming,

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and she's going to sing for us next.

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The fairy tale of Armida was written in Italy

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at the end of the 16th century, and has since inspired composers

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such as Handel, Gluck and Rossini.

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But it's an aria from Dvorak's opera Za Stihlou Gazelou

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that's since become a firm favourite of the concert platform.

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The sorceress Armida is out hunting and glimpses a handsome knight.

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He is an enemy of her country,

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but she confides her love and her desire to win him.

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SHE SINGS IN CZECH

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APPLAUSE

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Za Stihlou Gazelou from Dvorak's rarely performed opera Armida.

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Next, I think, one of the most beautiful arias in opera -

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Rusalka's Song To The Moon.

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Here Renee Fleming is the water nymph - Rusalka -

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yearning for the human prince who frequents the lake

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in which she lives.

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She appeals to the moon to reveal her love to him.

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SHE SINGS IN CZECH

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APPLAUSE

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Song To The Moon from Dvorak's opera Rusalka.

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It's an aria that's become a signature piece for Renee Fleming,

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who's loved it since her student days.

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She says it always brings her luck.

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The folk tale of Little Briar Rose is as old as the hills.

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It's appeared in many guises,

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but it's probably most familiar to us

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as Tchaikovsky's ballet The Sleeping Beauty.

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We're going to hear now the famous Adagio and Waltz from Act I.

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It's the Princess Aurora's 16th birthday,

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and she's introduced to four foreign princes seeking her hand.

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APPLAUSE

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APPLAUSE

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Just irresistible -

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the Adagio and Waltz from Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty.

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The Vienna Philharmonic with Christoph Eschenbach

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playing to some 100,000 people spread out around the gardens

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of the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna.

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Some Rachmaninoff now -

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two folk songs sung by Renee Fleming.

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First, Sing Not To Me Beautiful Maiden,

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a setting of a poem by Alexander Pushkin

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that Rachmaninoff composed in 1892.

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He appeals to a maiden to stop singing songs from his country,

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Georgia, which remind him of the trouble-free life he once loved.

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SHE SINGS IN RUSSIAN

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APPLAUSE

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Rachmaninoff's Sing Not To Me Beautiful Maiden.

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Next, Renee Fleming throws off the melancholy

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with Rachmaninoff's song Spring Waters,

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in which she greets the sudden coming of spring

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after the long night of winter.

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SHE SINGS IN RUSSIAN

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APPLAUSE

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Spring Waters, Rachmaninoff's passionate vision

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of the forthcoming Russian spring.

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Renee Fleming and the Vienna Philharmonic,

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conducted by Christoph Eschenbach.

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And some very nice flowers she's getting there too.

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Now in 1812, the Brothers Grimm wrote a collection of fairy tales.

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One of the darkest stories has to be that of Hansel and Gretel,

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which the composer Engelbert Humperdinck

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later turned into a successful opera.

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Some of the songs have become nursery rhymes in their own right.

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This is the Prologue.

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APPLAUSE

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Beautiful.

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Humperdinck's Prologue to his opera Hansel And Gretel.

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On now to the no less mystical universe of Harry Potter

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and Hedwig's Theme,

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composed for the films by John Williams

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and named after Harry Potter's snowy white owl.

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Now this is really difficult music to play.

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It's packed with fast and fiendish passages

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that are a real challenge for the musicians to pull off,

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but when they do it is truly magical.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Hedwig's Theme by John Williams -

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a modern classic that really epitomises the spirit

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of Harry Potter's wizarding world.

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The Firebird is a potent figure in Russian fairy tale,

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bringing good or bad luck to whoever catches it.

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It's a story that Stravinsky famously set to music in 1910

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for the Ballet Russes in Paris.

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The Vienna Philharmonic are now going to play

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three scenes from the ballet -

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the Berceuse, the Grand Finale and first The Infernal Dance.

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APPLAUSE

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The transcendent finale of Stravinsky's Firebird.

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Christoph Eschenbach and the Vienna Philharmonic

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in the gardens of the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna.

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The Firebird was a huge success for Stravinsky.

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On hearing it, the impresario Diaghilev is reported to have said,

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"Mark him well - he is a man on the eve of celebrity."

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And indeed, within three years, Stravinsky had gone on

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to compose Petrushka and The Rite Of Spring.

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Well, that was the official end of this evening's concert,

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but I don't expect the crowds here

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will let the orchestra go that easily, and...

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Well, let's see. Here we go.

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APPLAUSE

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Dance Of The Comedians by Smetana,

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from his comic opera The Bartered Bride.

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Players of the Vienna Philharmonic showing off

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their extraordinary virtuosity under Christoph Eschenbach

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here at the Schonbrunn Palace.

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But there's time for one last encore, I think.

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What else would you expect from the home of the waltz

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than something by Johann Strauss Jr?

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This is Wiener Blut, Vienna's Blood.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Ah, you can't beat it. That had them dancing in the aisles,

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the waltz Wiener Blut by Johann Strauss Jr

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performed by the Vienna Philharmonic

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and conducted by Christoph Eschenbach.

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Sadly that brings to an end this Summer Night Concert

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of fairy tales and myth from these stunning gardens

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at the Schonbrunn Palace.

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I do hope you've enjoyed it.

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From me, Katie Derham, it is auf Wiedersehen.

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Goodbye.

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APPLAUSE CONTINUES

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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MUSIC: Te Deum: Marche En Rondeau (Prelude) by Charpentier

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Katie Derham introduces the 2017 open-air concert from the magnificent gardens of the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, given by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Christoph Eschenbach.

Fairy tale and myth influence all of the evening's music, with highlights from classical favourites such as Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty, Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, John Williams's Hedwig's Theme from the Harry Potter films and the Prologue to Humperdink's opera Hansel and Gretel.

They are joined by American soprano Renee Fleming performing some of her favourite songs and arias, including Russalka's Song to the Moon.


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