The Rotterdam Student Orchestra takes a musical journey through Central Europe, with music by Mozart, Mahler and Dvořák.


  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Overture ‘Die Zauberflöte’
  • Gustav Mahler – Songs from ‘Des Knaben Wunderhorn’
  • Antonín Dvořák – Symphony no. 7

Soloist (baritone): Patrick Pranger
Conductor: Coen Huisman

While the concept of Central Europe defies a precise definition, this geographic region comprising historic territories of Germany and Austria-Hungary has long been considered a place of great cultural diversity. This is certainly true in the case of music, with renowned Central European musical centres like Vienna serving as point of encounter for many of the most influential composers of their time and as point of origin for new musical styles ever since the 18th century.

We start our musical journey through Central Europe in Vienna. One of the most famous operas of all time, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute, 1791) is full of delightful musical motives and combines comical elements from Viennese popular theatre with allegorical elements of Masonic inspiration. The story of Prince Tamino sent to rescue Pamina from the High Priest Sarastro and of the rivalry between Sarastro and the Queen of the Night has captivated audiences far beyond opera enthusiasts. Its overture starts with an exalted introduction that emphasises the deeper meaning of the story and then moves on to a lively sonata form, in which Mozart masterfully applies fugue techniques. This varied and happy music from the height of the classical period introduces a fascinating story about love and human virtue.

Late Romantic composer Gustav Mahler, originally from Bohemia and active in Vienna and beyond, was a great musical innovator. His parallel focus on symphonies and songs is rather unique, and he managed to create a fascinating, organic relationship between the two media within his work. In 1892, Mahler started to work on orchestral songs that were based on Clemens Brentano’s and Achim von Arnim’s poem collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Boy’s Magic Horn). This extensive collection contains more than 700 lyrics of German folk songs starting from the Middle Ages, ranging from military songs to children’s songs and comprising a wide variety of themes. The Rotterdam Student Orchestra is joined by the baritone Patrick Pranger and will perform five of Mahler’s ‘Wunderhorn’ songs: Revelge, Das irdische Leben, Der Schildwache Nachtlied, Trost im Unglück, and Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen.

A bit further East, in Bohemia, Antonín Dvořák composed his 7th symphony in 1885 on commission of the Philharmonic Society in London. While it is less famous than his 8th and especially his 9th symphony (which have previously been performed by the Rotterdam Student Orchestra), critics consider it one of the greatest symphonies since the time of Beethoven. While moving away from the Slavic elements usually characterising his music, Dvořák created a dark and dramatic musical work of extraordinary thematic cohesion. In its four movements, the (non-programmatic) symphony evokes the uneasy sociocultural atmosphere at the time and the struggles and endurance of the Czech people in the face of oppression. The composer was driven by his strong patriotism, mixed with more cosmopolitan influences and international ambitions, and tells a story of love, God, and his fatherland in the very centre of Europe.

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The RSO is a symphonic orchestra for students from Rotterdam and its vicinity. See for more information: external

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Date: Thursday 7 December 2023
Time: 20.15 – 22.00 hours
Location: Bergsingelkerk

Ticket information
Tickets available via external
Students: € 7.50
Other visitors: € 10.00
Free entry for minors.

Organised by Rotterdam Student Orchestra in cooperation with Studium Generale

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