Cornelius Meister Leads BSO in Brahms' Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, 10/26-28

Guest conductor Cornelius Meister returns thanks to popular demand to lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) in a program of Mozart, Brahms and Strauss on Friday, October 26, 2012 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, October 28 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. The Concert includes Brahms' final work for orchestra, his Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, featuring BSO Concertmaster Jonathan Carney and Principal Cellist Dariusz Skoraczewski. The Concert also includes one of Mozart's great symphonies, No. 35, the "Haffner" and Strauss' masterful tone poem Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks.

German conductor Cornelius Meister returns due to popular demand from audiences, BSO musicians and music critics alike. Meister's BSO debut in April 2011 earned praise from the Baltimore Sun: "Wow. That sure was fun. … The music came alive in ways that struck me as unusually fresh and absorbing. …The orchestra sounded eager and inspired."

Composed in the summer of 1887, the Double Concerto is Johannes Brahms' final work for orchestra. The Concerto was written for cellist Robert Hausman and Brahms' estranged friend, violinist Joseph Joachim. The work was partially a friendly gesture on Brahms' part to reconcile his relationship with the violinist after their friendship had suffered following Joachim's divorce from his wife Amalie, with whom Brahms had sided during the divorce. Throughout the work, Brahms makes use of an A-E-F motif, a re-imagining of F-A-E, which stands for the personal motto of Joachim: Frei aber einsam ("free but lonely").

Although now considered one of Mozart's great symphonies, the Haffner Symphony did not start its life as a symphony, but as a serenade to be played for the wedding of Marie Elizabeth Haffner. He refashioned it into a symphony to honor ennoblement of Sigmund Haffner, at the prompting of the Haffner family. Although very busy, Mozart completed the commission, which he later reworked into the symphony we know today. It received its first public performance on March 23, 1783 at the Vienna Burgtheater.

Richard Strauss' playful tone poem Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks depicts the pranks and adventures of Till Eulenspiegel, a German folk hero. The work is comprised of two main themes representing the hero, a lilting melodic line ending in three long, loud descending notes played on horn and a mischievous crafty clarinet theme depicting Till Eulenspiegel as a talented prankster. These themes follow him through the German countryside as he rides a horse through the market overturning carts and goods, pokes fun at the Teutonic Clergy (as played by the violas), flirts and chases girls, and mocks academics (represented by the bassoon section).

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