en / pl

Wanderers and pilgrims – sold out!

concert number 18



Robert Schumann Manfred Overture, Op. 115 [12’]
Hector Berlioz Harold in Italy, Op. 16, Symphony for viola and orchestra [43’]
I. Harold in the mountains. Scenes of melancholy, happiness and joy
II. March of the pilgrims singing their evening prayer
III. Serenade of a mountaineer from the Abruzzi to his mistress
IV. Orgy of brigands. Memories of earlier scenes

Concert description

Although the topos of wandering is present in the oldest texts (Homer’s Odyssey and the Bible being prime examples), it is perhaps most often found in Romanticism. The Romantic hero goes on a physical journey to make the spiritual one – as a youth who grows up along the way (like the wandering wayfarer or Wilhelm Meister), as a man in his prime (like Faust) or the one who abandons the world or is rejected by it (like the hero of Schubert’s Winter Journey or Vaughan-Williams’ Songs of Travel).

One of the first Romantic texts in which the road motif drives the plot was George Gordon Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. A comparable role in music – of a forerunner and inventor – was played by Hector Berlioz. He is often accredited with creating the first truly programmatic (depicting extra-musical content) composition – in 1830 he wrote the Symphonie Fantastique. A few years later he reached for Byron’s work. He enriched four-movement Symphony Harold in Italia with a solo viola obbligato, which represents the main character. Byron’s works also inspired other Romantic composers. The theater music for the drama Manfred with its famous overture was written by Robert Schumann.

– Dominika Micał, “Ruch Muzyczny”