Brussels Philharmonic | Heldenleben: soundscapes

Heldenleben: soundscapes


In the concert Ein Heldenleben poetic soundscapes designed by Stef Van Alsenoy and Fanny Gilbert-Collet resonate between the three works of Richard Strauss. Together with a veil of misty light, they create a unique sonic world that adds new depth to the concept of a 'hero.'
These soundscapes draw inspiration from Pablo Neruda's poem Muchos Somos. The proximity shared by the spoken voice with the audience provides an opportunity to delve deeper into the subconscious. Furthermore, the haikus of the Japanese poet Natsume Soseki bring to life the four stages of human existence, like subtle brushstrokes on the canvas of the evening.

The soundscapes are voiced by Maria Gil Muñoz (Vlaams Radiokoor), Mari Hagiwara & Sayoko Mundy (Brussels Philharmonic).

[read also: What defines a hero?]
[read also: programme notes]
[read also: O Superman]
[read also: Photographic Hero]


30.09.2023 FLAGEY

Strauss: Ein Heldenleben · 30.09.2023 · Flagey

Heroes take many forms – in real life as well as in art. Richard Strauss brought a succession of heroes to the fore in his symphonic poems, two of whom come to life in this programme – thanks to Strauss’ impressive orchestration – as if in a film.

with KAZUSHI ONO conductor

Discover more

Pablo Neruda
We Are Many (Muchos Somos)

De tant d’hommes que je suis, que nous sommes,
je ne puis en trouver aucun :
ils se perdent sous mes vêtements,
ils sont partis dans une autre ville.

Lorsque tout est préparé
pour me montrer intelligent
le sot que je porte caché
prend la parole dans ma bouche.

De tantos hombres que soy, que somos,
no puedo encontrar a ninguno:
se me pierden bajo la ropa,
se fueron a otra ciudad.

Cuando todo está preparado
para mostrarme inteligente
el tonto que llevo escondido
se toma la palabra en mi boca.

D’autres fois je m’endors parmi
la société distinguée
et lorsque je cherche en moi le courageux,
un lâche que je ne connais pas
court prendre avec mon squelette
mille précautions délicieuses.
Lorsque brûle une maison respectée
au lieu du pompier que j’appelle
l’incendiaire se précipite
et celui-là c’est moi.

Cómo puedo rehabilitarme?
Todos los libros que leo
celebran héroes refulgentes
siempre seguros de sí mismos:
me muero de envidia por ellos,
en los filmes de vientos y balas
me quedo envidiando al jinete,
me quedo admirando al caballo.

Pero cuando pido al intrépido
me sale el viejo perezoso,
y así yo no sé quién soy,
no sé cuántos soy o seremos.
Me gustaría tocar un timbre
y sacar el mí verdadero
porque si yo me necesito
no debo desaparecerme.

Pendant que j’écris je suis absent
et quand je reviens je suis déjà parti :
je vais voir si aux autres gens
il leur arrive ce qui m’arrive,
s’ils sont comme je suis si nombreux,
s’ils se ressemblent à eux-mêmes
et lorsque je l’aurai vérifié
je vais apprendre si bien les choses
que pour expliquer mes problèmes
je leur parlerai de géographie.

Mientras escribo estoy ausente
y cuando vuelvo ya he partido:
voy a ver si a las otras gentes
les pasa lo que a mí me pasa,
si son tantos como soy yo,
si se parecen a sí mismos
y cuando lo haya averiguado
voy a aprender tan bien las cosas
que para explicar mis problemas
les hablaré de geografía.

Natsume Soseki

I’ve left the world behind
Even the busy streets
An ancient scene.

Not knowing why,
I feel attached to this world
Where we come only to die.

No. 1519

From time to time,
I shall die, I think—
In obscurity.

ware oriori / shinan to omou / oboro kana


No. 1888

Dropping stars in spring,
The darkness
Of midnight.

haru no hoshi wo / otoshite yonaka no / kazashi kana


No. 1893

All resigned
Spring drawing to a close,
And I am alone.

omoikitte / fukeyuku haru no / hitori kana


No. 2123

A dream, one stream
The Milky Way.

wakaruru ya / yume hitosuji no / ama no gawa


No. 2180

Saying I should leave
But I do not leave
The moon tonight.

kaeru beku te / kaeranu ware ni / tsuki koyoi


No. 2208

Trying to fall into,
Trying to awaken from,
A dream that autumn has passed.

sugishi aki wo / yumemiyo to uchi / sameyo to utsu


No. 2330

Distant from the world,
The mind is vacant
On a long day in spring.

yo ni tōki / kokoro hima aru / hinaga kana


translations: [The Sōseki Poetry Project]


Richard L. Boyer

Light vs Darkness
Love’s light energy
or power of darkness
life contradiction.

[House of Haiku]

Mockup featuring three mupis placed at an underground station s wall 2852 el1 1

What is a hero?

What defines a hero? Who are they or how do you become one? Is a hero by definition heroic? Or do they have the same flaws as everyone, do they make the same human mistakes? Can one call themselves a hero?

Together with a multidisciplinary team, the Brussels Philharmonic explores the concept of heroism from various angles in relation to the concert Ein Heldenleben. The heroes depicted in Strauss’ music are surely not anymore the heroes we admire today - or are they?

Oh Super Man

O Superman

Since 2021, Brussels Philharmonic has been collaborating on and off the stage with contemporary music ensemble Ictus. For Ein Heldenleben, Jean-Luc Plouvier from Ictus provides the dramaturgical context. Especially for this concert, which focuses on Richard Strauss and the theme of (anti)heroes, he created a unique cover of Laurie Anderson's worldwide hit, O Superman.

Strauss Richard Transparent Treatment PINK GREEN

programme notes

‘I am not a hero. I don’t have the strength for it. I’m not fit for the battle. I prefer to stay in the background, in a quiet place.’ - Richard Strauss