Tour #7

On the Tracks of the Swiss Symphony

26 October – 5 November 2023

Swiss Orchestra
Lena-Lisa Wüstendörfer, conductor
Raphaela Gromes, violoncello

Thursday, 7:30 PM
Friday, 7:30 PM
St. Gallen
Saturday, 7:30 PM
Concert Hall
Saturday, 7:30 PM
Sunday, 5:00 PM

Concert Programme

Robert Schumann (1810–1856)
Ouverture «Hermann und Dorothea» op. 136

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921)
Concerto pour violoncelle No. 1 op. 33

Marie Jaëll (1846–1925)
Concerto pour violoncelle et orchestre en fa majeur

Franz Xaver Schnyder von Wartensee (1786 Lucerne – 1868)
Symphony No. 1

After spending most of the preceding years in Leipzig and Dresden, Robert Schumann took over the post of municipal music director in Düsseldorf in 1850. There followed one of his most productive creative phases, before he threw himself into the Rhine out of despair in 1854 and subsequently spent his existence in a sanatorium in Bonn. The overture “Hermann and Dorothea” was born out of the spirit of the revolution that took place in Germany in 1848/49; based on Goethe’s poem about a love affair at the time of the French Revolution, it was composed just two years after the German uprising reached Schumann’s then home town of Dresden. The core theme of the work is unmistakably the “Marseillaise”.

In 1829, Schumann made a trip to Switzerland, which took him, among other places, to Lucerne, the birthplace of Franz Xaver Schnyder von Wartensee. Schumann found not only kind words about the city on Lake Lucerne, when he wrote: “a friendly little Italian town” with “very dead streets” at the foot of “grumpy Pilatus”. Schnyder von Wartensee grew up in the shadow of this “grumpy” mountain to become one of the great Swiss composing personalities of the 19th century. Our programme here features Schnyder’s First Symphony, which has been revived especially for this occasion by the Swiss Orchestra. The original manuscript has been liberated from its archive, transcribed into modern notation and made playable. Now nothing stands in the way of a rediscovery of this top-level music.

And Raphaela Gromes, one of Germany’s most successful contemporary musicians, will play not one, but two cello concertos. Our programme includes the popular First Concerto by Camille Saint-Saëns, which gave him his ultimate breakthrough as one of the leading French composers of the late 19th century, and at the same time helped to make the cello a widely accepted solo instrument. And our evening will be rounded off by an innovative cello concerto by Marie Jaëll, a highly successful French pianist and composer who was also a highly regarded student of Saint-Saëns.

“… moments of sheer poetry” (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

“Probably the most successful German cellist of our time” (Rondo Magazin).

Highly virtuosic and full of drive, passionate and technically brilliant, versatile and charming – there are hardly any other cellists who are able to captivate their audiences the way Raphaela Gromes does. Whether as a soloist with orchestra, as a duo in chamber music or alongside a wind quartet, the young cellist always leaves everyone spellbound with both her fantastically ambitious and remarkably effortless playing. Raphaela Gromes’s album “Offenbach” was awarded the 2020 OPUS KLASSIK prize in the category “chamber music recording”. Her album “Richard Strauss – Cello Sonatas” featured another world premiere recording – of the original version of Strauss’s Sonata op. 6 – and received the “Diapason Nouveauté” award. In February 2021, her album “Klengel – Schumann: Romantic Cello Concertos” received the Diapason d’Or. Her last album, “Imagination”, released in October 2021, is now being followed by a new album entitled “Femmes”, released on the SONY label.

In the 2022/23 season, Raphaela Gromes is Artist in Residence at the Staatstheater Augsburg and makes her debuts with the Belgian National Orchestra in Brussels and the hr- Sinfonieorchester. In addition, she performs at Frauenkirche Dresden, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, with the Tonkünstler-Orchester and in Munich’s Prinzregententheater with Festival Strings Lucerne.

Raphaela Gromes plays a cello by Carlo Bergonzi provided to her from a private source. She is a cultural ambassador for SOS Children’s Villages worldwide.