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Salzburg Festival / Concert / Anton Bruckner Cycle Bruckner IX
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Anton Bruckner Cycle • Bruckner IX

PROGRAMME

RICHARD STRAUSS • Four Last Songs

ANTON BRUCKNER • Symphony No. 9 in D minor

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PERFORMERS

Christoph von Dohnányi, Conductor
Eva-Maria Westbroek, Soprano
Philharmonia Orchestra

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Grosses Festspielhaus (Display seating plan with categories)

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‘No Caesar would fear the composer, and yet he composes nothing but high treason, outrage and tyrannicide’: only a declared opponent of Anton Bruckner could clear-sightedly name the subversive potential of the work of a person frequently described as respectable and devout. Bruckner – thus the critic Max Kalbeck continued in 1885 – was ‘the most dangerous among the musical innovators of the day: his thoughts are beyond all calculation, and their directness has a seductive, magical power’. – Whether demonized, dismissed as a naive backwoodsman or nearly sanctified by his followers, he created uncompromising scores ‘for later ages’, and yet his torturous self-criticism and the prospect of short-term success made him willing to make concessions and rearrangements. It seems as if the contradictions of genius characterize Anton Bruckner’s life and works; at the same time, they also underscore his singular position in musical history. A fervent admirer of Wagner, he was counted among the progressive New German School; this, however, did not stop him from cleaving stubbornly to the genre of the symphony, which he formed into a new type – a type that has astonishingly little to do with Wagner, musically. The development of themes from mysterious murmurings, complex contrapuntal texture, lusty music-making, the sublimeness of chorales and much more – all this is shaped into enormous, augmenting waves, a monumental musical architecture full of wholehearted expression, sudden abysses, spiritual overtones and a modernism that continues to consternate even today’s listener. From the obstreperous and contrary First Symphony, the ‘cheeky brat’ Bruckner created past the age of 40, to the mystical and transcendental Ninth, dedicated in childlike devoutness to ‘our dear God’, which would remain unfinished 30 years thereafter, illustrious Bruckner interpreters of our times unfold this fascinating symphonic cosmos. 

Walter Weidringer
Translated by Alexa Nieschlag

EDITORIAL 2014

Concert 2014

by Alexander Pereira and Florian Wiegand

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