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After a good quarter century, the archives of the Bach Academy have grown to a considerable size. It's not that we have a special interest in collecting and organising files; especially the data we have in digital form is beginning to break the terabyte limit. So first of all, let's look cheerfully towards the future and take a little time to review the web galleries, press reports, audio clips, and collections of material generated over the years of music mediation before we archive it. Let's begin our retrospective with the present (May 2009).
Regelmäßig gastierten die Ensembles der Bachakademie unter Leitung von Helmuth Rilling in der Düsseldorfer Tonhalle mit ihrer hervorragenden Akustik vor einem begeisterten Publikum. In diesem besonderen Jahr 2013 werden die Klänge von Bachs h-Moll-Messe den Raum mit dem seinem charakteristischen Kuppeldach füllen.
A truly special concert featuring two major birthdays (Wolfgang Rihm’s 60th and Helmuth Rilling’s 80th) combines works by the three composers, alongside Bach, to whom Helmuth Rilling is particularly close. Wolfgang Rihm: »In Helmuth Rilling I admire a profound artist and artistic friend. And I am grateful to the Gächinger Kantorei – particularly through him – for some wonderful performances.«
The 6th Akademie concert is the last with Helmuth Rilling. An era comes to an end, and Wolfgang Rihm, Rilling’s long-time colleague and friend, has composed a new work for this occasion. This last Salon of the season is about many things: it’s about a whole life devoted to art, about a long artistic friendship and about a new work, soon to receive its premiere.
Mit Bachs h-Moll-Messe reisen die Gächinger für ein Konzert in ihrer »Königsdisziplin« in die Händelstadt Halle. Gemeinsam mit dem Händelfestspielorchester werden sie Bach »Opus summum« in der wunderschönen Marktkirche Unser Lieben Frauen musizieren.
The French pianist David Fray is one of the outstanding piano virtuosi of the younger generation. »Piano playing at the highest level,« declared the British newspaper The Guardian, and Spiegel online praised his »singing, agile yet narrative, extrovert piano style« and confirmed that he had played »the most exciting Bach for decades«. Fray has a particular love of the great German composers: Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Haydn, Brahms and Schumann. The French pianist came to public attention in 2006 with a Bach CD. So it is only logical that he should pay homage to the great Bach on his 328th birthday in Stuttgart.
»I’m not interested in superfluous things. There are so many, far too many Requiem Masses!!! It is pointless writing another...« It is scarcely possible to explain this remark by Verdi, other than in terms of his certain tendency towards coquettishness, for everything was at stake for the composer following both the »Libera me« composed earlier (as a contribution to the »Messa per Rossini«) and his completed »Messa da Requiem«, which he conducted in 1874 following the death of the Italian national poet Alessandro Manzoni in Milan: »I am working on my Mass, and actually with great pleasure. It seems to me that I have become a serious person and am no longer the public’s clown who cries out – with a big trumpet or bass drum – Avanti, avanti, roll up etc.«
An important visitor from Rome in the Verdi Year: Dr. Markus Engelhardt is Director of the Music History Department of the German Historical Institute in Rome. A musicologist himself, in 1988 he was commissioned by the Bachakademie to edit a movement of the »Messa per Rossini« and has published a translation of the first volume of the series from Italian into German. Who could be more expert on the history of the composition of Verdi’s Requiem?
We encounter Elizabeth, the Hungarian King’s daughter in Franz Liszt’s major oratorio, a quite different portrayal to that in Wagner’s Tannhäuser. Liszt portrayed the life of Elizabeth of Thuringia, who was proclaimed a saint shortly after her death (1231) for her acts of mercy, in musical tableaus, placing to the fore a charitable, kindly Elizabeth inspired by her faith. In the work, Liszt set elements of traditional Hungarian sacred liturgy and motifs from Thuringian melodies to a libretto by Otto Roquette, which took as its inspiration the six frescoes of Elizabeth by Moritz von Schwind in the Wartburg. Liszt, a native of Weimar who later took Franciscan orders, worked on his oratorio over a period of five years, before completing it in Rome in 1862. The work received its first performance three years later in Budapest. A rare concert appearance in Stuttgart!
Wenn sich einer mit dem oratorischen Schaffen von Franz Liszt auskennt, dann ist es Daniel Ortuño-Stühring. Der Musikwissenschaftler verfasste seine Dissertation über die Christus-Oratorien im 19. Jahrhundert und ist gegenwärtig Mitarbeiter des Forschungsprojektes »Neudeutsche Schule« am Institut für Musikwissenschaft Weimar-Jena. Mit Daniel Ortuño-Stühring unterhält sich Dr. Michael Gassmann über seine Leidenschaft für Liszt und über die Heilige Elisabeth.
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