German Romantic composer Richard Strauss’s An Alpine Symphony is a sweeping travelogue, meant to take the experience of a mountaineer’s climb to the summit and condense it down to 50 minutes of rousing, narrative adventure (beats getting altitude sickness!). The piece requires an almost absurd amount of instrumentation, including thunder machines, bird whistles, a glockenspiel, and some 125 performers. New York Philharmonic’s entire ensemble will step up to the challenge, with guest conductor Semyon Bychkov from the Czech Philharmonic leading the way.
The first act of this program takes a decidedly different and wonderfully experimental direction with Sinfonia, likely the best-known work by Italian contemporary composer Luciano Berio. Originally presented to commemorate the Philharmonic’s 125th anniversary back in 1968, Sinfonia is the bookish older brother to Alpine’s adventurer and includes lyrics that reference the writings of Samuel Beckett and anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss. For this innovative piece, the NYP will be joined by Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth.
Why You Should Go: While Berio’s vexingly complex Sinfonia will nail you to the floor, Strauss’s atmospheric and sweeping An Alpine Symphony will transport you to new heights.
Bychkov Conducts An Alpine Symphony
David Geffen Hall
10 Lincoln Center Plaza (on Broadway), Upper West Side
Thursday, May 24–Saturday, May 26