In 1802, Ludwig van Beethoven wrote to his brothers in despair. His increasing deafness was playing havoc with his ability to write and perform music.
It was a desperate cry of anguish from Beethoven, who in the days that followed started work on a new oratorio. Christ on the Mount of Olives projects Beethoven’s own emotional turmoil onto that of Christ’s last hours on earth before his crucifixion. It is a powerful, dramatic and intense work in which Beethoven appears unflinching in the face of emotional and physical distress.
Sir Mark Elder returns to conduct this work of strange beauty, inspiring humanity and compelling drama. But first, he takes the orchestra through another work of emotional turmoil. Brahms’s Third Symphony is both menacing and mellifluous, a masterpiece of cyclic construction in which Brahms’s beauteous melodies become steadily more familiar.