Sunday, 1.1.2023
4.30 pm

new year’s concert “belle epoque suisse”


Swiss Orchestra
Lena-Lisa Wüstendörfer, conductor
Lena Kiepenheuer, soprano
Alexander Boldachev, harp
Sherniyaz Mussakhan, violin

The Swiss Orchestra will join you in celebrating New Year 2023 with a programme that’s dreamlike, surprising, and features virtuoso soloists.

Prices: CHF 135 / 105 / 85 / 60


Hans Huber (1852–1921):
Humoreske. Allegro vivace (from Symphony No. 4)

Hans Huber:
Cavatina. Adagio molto espressivo (from Symphony No. 4)

Richard Strauss (1864–1949):
Morgen op. 27, Nr. 4

Sergei Rachmaninow (1873–1943):

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921):
Danse macabre

Gustav Mahler (1860–1911):
Adagietto (from Symphony No. 5)

Joseph Lauber (1864–1952):
Suite pour Orchestre à Cordes

Jules Massenet (1842–1912):
Méditation (from the opera “Thaïs”)

Johann Strauss (Son; 1825–1899):

Johann Strauss (Father; 1804–1849):

About the programme

The “Belle Èpoque”, “fin-de-siècle”, “Edwardian Age”: the period between roughly 1880 and the beginning of the First World War in 1914 has been given many names. They all differ in their details, but nevertheless refer to the unusually long period of peace after the Franco-Prussian War that provided the basis for an upswing in the economy, technology and cultural life of Europe – though this “beautiful epoch” benefited the upper middle classes in particular. Culture flourished, and the bourgeoisie met on the boulevards of their metropolises, in the cafés and cabarets, studios and galleries, concert halls and salons. Improvements in transport served to open up remote areas, and the increased availability of leisure time meant that pleasure trips became more and more attractive. Outside the metropolises, fine hotels were built in the Alps for a wealthy clientele – such as the Grandhotel Bellevue in Andermatt, whose place has today been taken by “The Chedi”.

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s summer domicile was in Weggis in Canton Lucerne; the Swiss composer Hans Huber spent his twilight years partly in Vitznau (also in Canton Lucerne); and the last three years of Richard Strauss’s life were spent mostly in Swiss hotels. These three composers are all at the heart of the Swiss Orchestra’s New Year Concert programme. Gustav Mahler’s popular Adagietto is also on the programme, as is Camille Saint-Saëns’s symphonic poem “Danse macabre” and the Humoresque and Cavatina by Hans Huber.

The soloists for this concert will be the soprano Lena Kiepenheuer and the harpist Alexander Boldachev, whose contributions will include Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise” for soprano, harp and strings. Jules Massenet’s popular “Méditation” from his opera “Thaïs” is representative of the sentimental style of the fin-de-siècle, and it is here placed alongside Joseph Lauber’s Suite for String Orchestra and two New Year’s classics by Johann Strauss (Father and Son). And finally, Richard Strauss’s orchestral song “Morgen” will offer an optimistic vista: “And tomorrow the sun will shine again / and on the path that I shall take / the sun will unite us again, we happy ones, / in the midst of this sun-breathing earth…”.


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