When the last note of Beethoven’s ninth faded shortly after 9 p.m. on Friday, a deep silence pervaded the Semperoper. After twenty or thirty seconds, which seemed like an eternity to him, the man at the desk came out of his stupor, and huge jubilant applause broke out: For the Sächsische Staatskapelle, who …

When the last note of Beethoven’s ninth faded shortly after 9 p.m. on Friday, a deep silence pervaded the Semperoper. After twenty or thirty seconds, which seemed like an eternity to him, the man on the podium came out of his amazement and enormous applause broke out: for the Saxony State Orchestra, the soloists, the Opera Choir of State – but especially for the conductor who recognized the tribute of the public with a beautiful smile.

With this program of Beethoven’s 8th and 9th Symphonies, recorded and to be heard from October 22 to May 20 at MDR Kultur and MDR Klassik, Christian Thielemann begins his third to last season in Dresden: La Saxe, probably at the request of the orchestra , did not extend the contract with the conductor, which expired in mid-2024. However, the whole evening never felt like a maestro was working and communicating with local musicians who no longer want him. In an interview with the Sächsische Zeitung, Thielemann made it clear that he can live with the decision, especially since it opens up new perspectives and freedoms for him: “Making music is one thing”, says- he, when asked about the end of the contract, “and the other is the other. I find my relationship with the orchestra wonderful. For me, it’s always so nice that I don’t think about or ignore all the other things. During Beethoven’s rehearsals he felt that “you are overflowing with joy in music and the will to make music”.

Since the decision was announced, in a matter of weeks it had been inundated with so many requests from large hotels that it was already full until 2026, and even in 2027 there would hardly be any vacancies: “The challenge will be to minimize travel. I will therefore work together in certain cities and countries. Vienna, Berlin, London, Chicago, Amsterdam … “There are still many wishes open. Until now, he has never conducted an opera at La Scala in Milan, not even at the Unter den opera house. Linden in Berlin or at the Bavarian State Opera. He recently first conducted the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra: “Funny that I start to make a lot of debuts at the age of 62 years.”

Whether and when he will lead again in Dresden beyond the end of his contract seems to be in the stars: “It will be a little more difficult, to put it with caution. We have yet to find a dates. ” But first, he still has “three good years here with a crazy program”, we will still be amazed. “Well, and then it’s over!”

While it’s understandable that such a renowned orchestra could face different writing after eleven seasons with Thielemann, who is the world’s top pick especially for Bruckner, Wagner and Strauss, it became clear over the weekend that the Dresdeners lose a talent that knows how to set accents not only in late romanticism, but also in Viennese classicism. Symphony No. 8 in F major, premiered in 1814 and rarely performed, is considered an abbreviated continuation of the “Eroica”. He is full of rhythmic finesse and with his lively, sometimes motor skills, he points far into the future. Thielemann didn’t tighten the reins too tightly, created a nice clear space for the winds, especially in the third movement trio, and surprised with accentuated pauses, to which he winked decisively longer than ‘We are not usually used to it: the increase in tension was enormous. Even after the breakup of the famous 1924 D minor symphony, arguably the most famous composition of all, it was an essential design element. In the third movement of the ninth in particular, where Beethoven alternates between a tender adagio and a groping andante, Thielemann evokes his “miracle harp” with nuances, until the overwhelming finale is introduced, introduced by the choir suggestive of double basses. .