Utah Arts Review – Fisch makes impressive debut leading Utah Symphony in a timely, resonant “Metamorphosen”
by Rick Mortensen
It’s striking how well music written decades or even centuries ago can address a current national mood. After a fortnight that saw both a spike in U.S. Covid deaths and a siege of the U.S. Capitol Building, the Utah Symphony’s transcendent rendition of Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen—streaming through February 11 along with Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 in A minor—seemed of the moment.
Written in 1945 by Richard Strauss, Metamorphosen is a half-hour long lament for strings, in a musical language similar to Wagner or Mahler but with Strauss’s distinctive counterpoint and hints of the wider harmonic pallet the composer used in his operas Salome and Elektra. It’s widely believed that Strauss was lamenting the destruction of his beloved city of Munich in World War II, particularly its opera house. Some believe he was also mourning the loss of his country’s character to the horrors of Nazism.