Peter Ruzicka undertakes intergalactic journeys to celebrate fifty years of collaboration with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. “Air from another planet” already blows through Alban Berg’s Piano Sonata op. It is striking how congenially the Dutch composer takes up Berg’s orchestral sound of later works, staging the basic trait of nervousness in ever new, contrasting and merging colors.

The conductor’s instinct for fine nuances, for the staying power of the phrases, for the balance of precision and spontaneity is not inferior to this. Ruzicka’s oboe concerto “Aulodie” transfers Berg’s world of sound into today’s realms, claims modernity in contrast to extreme string registers or splintered percussion excursions and yet astonishes with a harmony that arises from never pandering sensuality.

François Leleux is the ideal soloist for this work, which explores a wide range of emotions, fills long lines with enormous breath and eloquent phrasing, the oboe with a broad tone can elicit cutting intensity as well as whisper delicately together with chirping violins. If Ruzicka’s work already represents something like a compendium of singing, the encore can top that: Mozart’s “Bildnis” aria from the “Magic Flute”, whose flowing cantability the oboe sings out so beautifully, as if Fritz Wunderlich were standing here. Adorable.

Certainly, Edgar Varèse’s “Arcana” could have drawn in a thorn of provocation from this journey into the most sensitive sound regions, which also repeatedly characterized Ruzicka’s DSO directorship. The performance had to be canceled due to the corona virus. But Gustav Holst’s “Planets” cycle isn’t a bad choice either. Musicians and audiences take off with John Williams’ “Star Wars” suite, a sound journey in radiant orchestral brilliance.