A rare opportunity awaits the audience of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra on Friday, May 31 – a rather unusual repertoire concept with two completely different renditions of Schubert’s Death and the Maiden. Schubert’s masterpiece will be performed firstly by the Belgrade Philharmonic String Quartet, and in the second part, by the entire string section of the orchestra under the baton of chief conductor Gabriel Feltz.

The unusual start to the Philharmonic concert (Kolarac, 8 p.m.) with only four musicians on stage will showcase why the Belgrade Philharmonic String Quartet is a miniature orchestra within the orchestra. Musicians Jelena Dragnić, Vladan Lončar, Boris Brezovac, and Aleksandar Latković have been collaborating within the Quartet since 2011, and for this special occasion, they had a masterclass with the renowned chamber music professor Eberhard Feltz.

Known as Death and the Maiden, this piece is the most famous out of other Franz Schubert’s 15 string quartets, named after its second movement, which is an adaptation of his solo song set to Matthias Claudius’s poem about a girl waiting for Death that has come for her.

Schubert’s quartet has inspired many composers, including Gustav Mahler, who arranged it for string orchestra. This arrangement not only multiplies the performing forces of the string instruments but also changes the character of the piece. As a conductor and a profound connoisseur of orchestral music, Mahler skilfully preserved Schubert’s original ideas while enhancing them with orchestral solutions. This collaboration showcases the combined mastery of both composers.