Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony – composers have always been fascinated by the representation of natural phenomena. Richard Strauss was no exception. At the age of fifteen he went on a hike in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, setting out before dawn so that he could watch the sun rise from one of the peaks. On the way down, though, he was caught in a thunderstorm – and it took him until evening to reach a farm where he could spend the night. "It was an absolutely fascinating, unusual, original experience", he wrote to a friend. "Next day I improvised a piano piece about it, naturally with gigantic tone painting and other Wagnerian frippery." Strauss initially planned a four-movement work entitled The Antichrist, an Alpine Symphony. Antichrist is a reference to a work of the same name by Basel professor Friedrich Nietzsche, in which he wrote: "It takes practice to live in the mountains, to look down on the pathetic prattling of politicians and selfish peoples."
To represent nature Strauss uses a large orchestral line-up, sophisticated instrumentation – and off-stage brass and percussion, not to mention cowbells, a wind machine and a thunder sheet.
DoReMi – Concerto no. 2 for violin and orchestra by Péter Eötvös, dedicated to violinist Midori – is also about migration in the broadest sense of the term. To this Hungarian composer do, re and mi, the first three notes of the familiar tonic sol-fa, are not just a pun on the soloist's name, they also represent the musical distinction between West and East. Western European melodies generally end on do, whereas in eastern Europe they end on mi. Eötvös has composed a piece that moves between these two spheres.