Beginnings and Endings (performance 1)

Ludwig van Beethoven Septet in E flat major for clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello and double bass, Op. 20
Richard Strauss Metamorphosen*

Ludwig van Beethoven and Richard Strauss stand at opposite ends of the
German romantic era: the former’s titanic and revolutionary achievement
influenced composers throughout the 19th century, while the latter’s music
is often a swansong to a bygone age. Strauss’s final work – Metamorphosen,
completed in 1945 – is rarely performed and it is easy to understand why:
it is scored for 23 solo strings. This unique piece, full of what critic Alan
Rich described as “solemn, dark, and resigned music”, is an enigma: is
Strauss mourning the destruction of Germany in the Second World War,
or does the title refer to war’s transformation of man into beast in the
manner of classical metamorphosis? Beethoven’s Septet – in complete
contrast – is serene chamber music in the style of a Mozartean serenade.

Southwell Festival Chamber Soloists
* Directed from the violin by Jamie Campbell