The first symphony concert is dedicated to the Wagner family. A central work of this evening is Richard Wagner's "Siegfried Idyll". The composer wrote the orchestra piece in 1870 on the occasion of the birthday of his wife Cosima - the daughter of Franz Liszt. The work was not only just a gift for her 33rd birthday; it also celebrated the birth of their son Siegfried, who would later follow the family role models and become a composer himself. The prelude to "Sonnenflammen" from 1918 showcases his nuance for tension-filled melodic lines and late-romantic sound language.
The "Totentanz", a paraphrase of the "Dies irae" for piano and orchestra, is one of the most striking works written by Franz Liszt. The conductor and pianist Hans von Bülow, who was close to the Wagner family, bridges a connection to the burlesque of Richard Strauss. Strauss, 21-years-old at the time, conceived it for Bülow as a thank you for his dedication in Meiningen.