Siegfried's Funeral March makes more sense as it’s more brass dominant.
San Diego Symphony and Music Director Rafael Payare have announced a special 2021 digital season that strives to inspire and connect with its audience while in-person performances cannot occur due to Covid. From January to May 2021, the San Diego Symphony will release monthly virtual concerts featuring Payare and San Diego Symphony musicians.
The series begins on Friday, January 29, at 7 p.m. with a concert entitled Wagner Meets Mozart. The first piece is an arrangement for brass of Wagner’s Prelude to Act III from Meistersinger.
I’m a little confused by that choice to start off a concert. The Act III Prelude is contemplative and subdued. It’s not a traditional piece to start anything off with except Act III of Meistersinger.
I have no idea what the brass arrangement will sound like. I’m sure the choice to use only brass is based on the expense of using the complete orchestra.
Following Meistersinger is a brass arrangement of “Siegfried’s Funeral March” from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. This piece has a lot more punch but again, I have no idea what a brass arrangement will sound like. It makes more sense with this piece as it’s more brass dominant than the Act III Meistersinger. Although, the Funeral March is scored to have four harps. I’m not sure there are even four qualified harpists in San Diego.
Prelude to Act III from Meistersinger
Wilhelm Furtwangler conducts Vienna Philharmonic
The Funeral March is scored to include four Wagner Tubas. Wagner designed the Wagner Tuba to meet a specific brass sonority he wanted. However, they are almost impossible to find, so trombones are usually substituted.
Georg Solti conducting the funeral march as if possessed by something not quite human.
The program concludes with Mozart’s Symphony No. 29. You might recall a catchphrase from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, “And now for something completely different.” That is certainly applicable here.
Siegfried Funeral Music - Götterdämmerung
George Solti conducts Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
We go from the contemplative Meistersinger to the dramatic and ominous Funeral March to one of the most delightful and light-hearted pieces of music ever written. Mozart’s Symphony No. 29 is a masterpiece of the classical style and one of my favorites but I’m left scratching my head as to how this concert hangs together. For the record, I’m not saying it doesn’t hang together. I’m saying at first glance, I don’t get it.
I’m sure Maestro Payare has thought this through and will share his thoughts during the livestream but on the surface, this appears to be a concert that is being pushed around by a pandemic. Alas, what are our options?
If I were to eyeball it, I’d say the total running time for this concert is about 45 minutes unless there’s a lot of talking before each piece.
To purchase an All Access Pass or individual livestream access, visit www.sandiegosymphony.org/digitalpass.