Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Vienna: those are only four of the top addresses from which internationally celebrated orchestras depart this summer for Salzburg, where they make up the august circle of guest orchestras. The programmes are full of meaningful allusions and cross-references – for example when Bernard Haitink seems to derive Anton Bruckner’s spirituality from Joseph Haydn’s Die Schöpfung; when a partial performance of Tristan und Isolde (under Daniel Barenboim and with illustrious soloists) pays homage to Bruckner’s idol Richard Wagner; or when Johannes Brahms, in so many ways Bruckner’s opposite, is represented by his Haydn Variations. 2014 is also the year when two legendary musical collectives from London finally return to the Festival after a lengthy absence: the first is the Philharmonia Orchestra with its current Principal Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and its Honorary Conductor for Life, Christoph von Dohnányi – with Vier letzte Lieder and Don Quixote they celebrate Richard Strauss’ 150th birthday on the concert podium. The Concertgebouw-orkest under Mariss Jansons then follows the tragicomic Man of La Mancha with a portrait of a ‘Munich man’ – the hero of Ein Heldenleben, celebrated with an audible wink. The second London-based orchestra is the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, founded by Neville Marriner and led by Murray Perahia, offering Haydn, Beethoven and classicistic works by Igor Stravinsky – whose sumptuously coloured, fairy-tale Firebird is then pursued by the Berlin Philharmonic under Simon Rattle. Maurice Ravel and Alban Berg seem to be bidding the old world of the 19th century farewell in their fascinating and highly emotional music; our present time is represented by works by Wolfgang Rihm (the world premiere of a piano concerto with Tzimon Barto), Marc-André Dalbavie and others. Alongside all that, Nikolaus Harnoncourt continues his untiring efforts to sharpen his image of Mozart, already uniquely differentiated, further: after all, ‘Art is derived from Must, not Want’ (Schoenberg). 

Walter Weidringer
Translated by Alexa Nieschlag


Concert 2014

by Alexander Pereira and Florian Wiegand

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