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08.05.2022 20:00 (CEST)

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Celebrating History – An Alpine Symphonic Tale with Reinhold Messner

Breaking new ground is no easy feat, especially not at 8,000m above sea-level. A new benchmark in climbing was set, however, on 8 May 1978, when Reinhold Messner reached the summit of Mount Everest with Peter Habeler for the very first time without the use of supplementary oxygen. Famed for being the first mountaineer to conquer all 14 of the world’s 8,000m peaks, Messner was also the first man to solo climb Everest just two years after his 1978 triumph.

To celebrate the anniversary of this pioneering achievement, DG STAGE presents a special concert film with the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and its chief conductor Robin Ticciati, who also venture into brand new territory with this production. Recorded at Berlin’s perfectly suited Tempodrom, they present Richard Strauss’s An Alpine Symphony, as a guided musical mountain tour with Reinhold Messner himself. Interwoven with the music, the legendary climber and explorer recounts the treacherous journeys faced from base camp to the summit and back again. His alpine life philosophy engages in a cinematic dialogue with the symphony in a 360-degree arrangement of the orchestra that surrounds Ticciati.

Strauss’s symphonic poem calls for huge forces. With over 120 musicians taking part, the 22 sections of the work portray a day-long hike in the mountains. The ascent begins as night fades and the sun rises before the music travels through forests and alpine pastures (complete with birdsong, sheep and cowbells), past a waterfall (depicted by harps and celesta), and over a glacier to the summit. The elation felt at conquering the peak is followed by a more rapid descent, punctuated by a huge thunderstorm. As the sun begins to set, just before nightfall, an epilogue captures the feelings of having communed with nature at its most awe-inspiring.

Opening new perspectives on the music by Strauss, as well as on man’s existential encounter with nature, An Alpine Symphony provides a new way of storytelling and connecting the composer with the audience.

“I was fascinated to combine Messner’s psychological analysis of a climb with the pictorial, almost cinematic, scoring that Strauss uses. There is a ‘new-classical music’ emerging which has been born out of this pandemic. It revolves around ‘attitude’ and asking questions of ourselves as artists. A new service for composer and audience: a new entertainment.” – Robin Ticciati

Richard Strauss
An Alpine Symphony/Eine Alpensinfonie

Robin Ticciati conductor
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

Language: German with English subtitles

©Photos by Peter Adamik (DSO) and Janek Stroisch (Reinhold Messner)
A Film by Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin


Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin
DG Stage