Program Booklet

RO NOW: Inner Choices

friday, april 19
19:00 hour until approximately 9:45 p.m.

This RO NOW is all about exciting quests and choices: when was the last time you made a choice that turned your world upside down?


What are you going to listen to?


Head over heels in love was Gustav Mahler in 1884, at that time conductor of the opera in Kassel, with singer Johanna Richter. But it came to nothing and he soothed his heartbreak by writing the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen about the wanderings of a craftsman who, migrating from one master to another, muses on his unhappy love.

As a result, the piece is doubly autobiographical. On the one hand, the hopeless passion for Johanna Richter; on the other, his feeling that as a young composer he still felt like a student. Mahler originally wrote the songs for voice with piano accompaniment. Only much later, between 1891 and 1896, did he turn them into a version for voice and orchestra.


César Franck was one of the few French composers of the nineteenth century to devote himself to the symphony, and even he did so only once. The organist Franck is unmistakably recognizable in his 1888 Symphony . His orchestration is conceived in blocks of instruments, similar to the different possibilities of the organ. Sometimes that sound is robust and direct, but sometimes of a wonderful refinement and subtlety, reminiscent of impressionism. Unique is Franck's inventiveness in this symphony. Like the structure: in deviation from the traditional four-part structure, the composer settled for three movements.

And there is more. Inimitably, Franck employs a theme that recurs again and again, showing melodies in ever new variations and colors. Actually, the symphony has only one main motif that Franck allows to develop into its own theme in each movement, from the fierce allegro of the first movement, the melancholy melody of the cor anglais in the second movement, to the boisterous fanfare of the finale. With all this, this symphony belongs with Berlioz's Fantastique and the Organ Symphony of its contemporary Saint-Saëns among the best that France has produced in terms of symphonies this century.

Want to read along with Mahler's song lyrics? Download them here!


Residentie Orkest The Hague
The Residentie Orkest has been setting the tone as a symphony orchestra for nearly 120 years. We are proud of that. We have a broad, surprising and challenging repertoire and perform the finest compositions.
Andrew Grams
American guest conductor Andrew Grams, an absolute audience favorite, is known for his dynamic concerts. He conducted several orchestras in the U.S. and was musical director of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.
Manuel Walser
Swiss baritone Manuel Walser is a well-known opera and Lieder singer and studied with Thomas Quasthoff. Was an ensemble member at the Wiener Staatsoper, among others.
The Residentie Orkest offers the conductor and soloist at this concert a linocut by The Hague artist Mariska Mallee.

Sad Fact

Poor César Franck

How tragically Franck met his end. In July 1890, he was hit by a Parisian horse-drawn omnibus. At first it did not seem to be too bad, but in the weeks that followed he became increasingly ill with his internal injuries. He died on Nov. 8.

Today in the orchestra

Francisca Portugal


Alexander van Eerdewijk

cor anglais

Mathilde Wauters

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