"Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most savage triumph of brutality in the chronicles of time.": with these words Stefan Zweig opens The World of Yesterday, his memoirs that he will conclude by taking his own life in 1942. As European civilisation burns, Zweig evokes the brilliant and carefree Vienna of the last century: the city of fine arts and poets, of music and psychoanalysis, the city whose name alone seemed able to ward off barbarism and which two World Wars were to shatter.
Doesn't Don Juan too embody the melancholy of a dying world? Isn't he the one who flees from reality by multiplying his conquests ad infinitum? By summing up his life in three stages - arrival, courtship and then death - Strauss's symphonic poem (1889) offers him an implacable reflection of his defeat. Strauss's one-movement Romance for cello and orchestra brings gentle consolation to the ladykiller's escapades.
Mahler's unfinished Tenth and final symphony (1910) was saved in extremis by his wife from the large-scale destruction of drafts ordered by the composer at his death. An intimate and musical novel, this symphony bears the mark of the crisis he went through in the summer of 1910: the breakdown of his relationship with Alma. In the twilight of his life, Mahler still surprises us with this prophetic form.
Lorraine National Opera Orchestra
Don Juan, opus 20
Romance en F major, opus 13
Symphony No. 10 in F sharp major, adagio