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Classics of classical music

We recommend five works that you should definitely hear live.

Where should you start when you are only just beginning? Which pieces must you have heard from the great repertoire of classical music? We propose five famous works that will be performed during the 2023/24 season. Shortly before each concert, you will find videos here in which our musicians present the work to be performed.

Beethoven: Symphony No. 5

It begins – ta-ta-ta-taaa – with the most famous four notes in musical history. Whether as a ringtone or in musical slapstick numbers, as film music or in «Peanuts,» the beginning of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 is ubiquitous. But not only that is remarkable; far more so is what Beethoven developed from those four notes. The entire symphony ultimately grows out of these, climaxing in its lush, exuberant, overwhelming finale.

Listen here to an excerpt of Beethoven's Fifth – played by Andreas Janke, Rafael Rosenfeld, Frank Sanderell, Yu Sun and Enrico Filippo Maligno. Arranged by Rafael Rosenfeld.

Mahler: Symphony No. 5

And there’s another «Fifth» that you shouldn’t miss – Gustav Mahler’s, which Paavo Järvi will be conducting to launch his new Mahler Cycle. Audiences initially gave the piece a lukewarm reception. The «Fifth» is a «cursed work,» Mahler wrote. «Nobody understands it …» However, that has long since changed; it is now one of the most popular of all symphonies. And it even managed a career in film: Luchino Visconti used the «Adagietto» from the piece for the soundtrack of his cult film «Death in Venice.»

Philippe Litzler, solo trumpet, plays us an excerpt from Mahler's 5th Symphony.

Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1

Stalin was dead, and composers, who had long been tightly controlled, once more enjoyed greater freedom. Shostakovich took advantage of this newfound liberty in his first Cello Concerto, written in 1959, with great temperament and imagination. It is often said that a reckoning with Stalin can be heard in the piece. Above all, however, the listener will hear how confidently Shostakovich strikes very different notes – and how in doing so he finds his very own voice.

Our solo cellist Paul Handschke and solo horn player Ivo Gass will play the famous opening motif for us.

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1

The beginning of this piano concerto is not quite as famous as that of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, but almost. The horns make a grand entrance, interrupted by the orchestra – anyone who has ever heard this introduction will never forget it. And the rest of the work keeps up the pace: «So original, so noble, so powerful,» was the verdict of piano virtuoso Hans von Bülow, who premièred the concerto in Boston in 1875.

Our concertmaster Julia Becker plays us the legendary beginning.

Berlioz: «Symphonie fantastique»

Hector Berlioz was only 26 years old when he wrote his «Symphonie fantastique» – and scored a coup. The work was unusual in every respect. With its unusual combinations of sounds, but above all with the programme Berlioz supplied with it. The music tells the story of «the life of an artist.» And – of course – it is also about love. Incidentally, the woman characterised with a musical «idée fixe» indeed existed. Her name was Harriet Smithson – and she later married Berlioz.

More

Click here for the video clips of the 2022/23 season.

March 2024
Wed 20. Mar
19.30

Rafael Payare with Tchaikovsky and Strauss

Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Rafael Payare Conductor, Kirill Gerstein Klavier Tschaikowsky, Strauss
Thu 21. Mar
19.30

Rafael Payare with Tchaikovsky and Strauss

Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Rafael Payare Conductor, Kirill Gerstein Klavier Tschaikowsky, Strauss
May
Fri 17. May
19.30

Dima Slobodeniouk with Berlioz

Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Dima Slobodeniouk Conductor, Iveta Apkalna Orgel Jongen, Berlioz
Sat 18. May
18.30

International Organ Days Zurich: Opening Concert with Iveta Apkalna

Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Dima Slobodeniouk Conductor, Iveta Apkalna Orgel Jongen, Berlioz
February 2024
Thu 15. Feb
19.30

Semyon Bychkov with Brahms

Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Semyon Bychkov Conductor, Kian Soltani Violoncello Schostakowitsch, Brahms
Wed 14. Feb
19.30

Semyon Bychkov with Brahms

Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Semyon Bychkov Conductor, Kian Soltani Violoncello Schostakowitsch, Brahms
Sat 03. Feb
18.30

Paavo Järvi with Mahler

Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Paavo Järvi Music Director, Cristina Gómez Godoy Oboe Mozart, Mahler
Fri 02. Feb
19.30

Paavo Järvi with Mahler

Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Paavo Järvi Music Director, Cristina Gómez Godoy Oboe Mozart, Mahler
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October 2023
Thu 05. Oct
18.30

tonhalleCRUSH – classic meets swiss folk

Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Paavo Järvi Music Director, Sara Taubman-Hildebrand Moderation Beethoven
Wed 04. Oct
19.30

Sold out: Bruce Liu plays Chopin

Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Paavo Järvi Music Director, Bruce Liu Klavier Chopin, Beethoven
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