Ein Heldenleben by Richard Strauss is, in some ways, Dutch. The composor wrote the symphonic poem in 1898 and dedicated it to the 27 year old Willem Mengelberg, who was the conductor of the Concertgebouworkest at the time. The symphony consists of six pieces which depict the life of a hero. Critics thought this was meant to give Strauss a voice against them, who he depicted with dull and shrill notes in the second part. Strauss left it all up to interpretation. 'I am no hero, I don't have the strenght to be one; I am not fit for battle: I prefer to step back and be left alone...' he told his friend Romain Rolland. Whatever the truth may be, Ein Heldenleben and Beethoven's Violin Concerto form a fascinating programm when put together.