Christoph von Dohnányi conductor
Eva-Maria Westbroek soprano
Strauss’s Four Last Songs sum up his love affair with the soprano voice and bid farewell to his composing career in music of rare beauty. Few compositions come close to its autumnal peace, best shown in its final movement, ‘Im Abendrot’, which portrays an ageing couple watching the setting sun, closing their eyes. Four Last Songs also have a special place in Philharmonia history, with the orchestra giving the world première of the work in 1950. Bruckner’s monumental Ninth Symphony, which completes the concert, stands alongside the other epoch-defining Ninth symphonies of Beethoven and Mahler.