Lucerne Festival, Summer 2006: August 10th – September 17th
«Language» is the theme of LUCERNE FESTIVAL, SOMMER 2006. Within living memory, language and music have always been associated: after all, music and language are how people convey their ideas and communicate with one another. It is said that music is a language that goes much deeper than words ever could. In this sense, music – from the Middle Ages to Romanticism and to modern times – has been said to say the “unutterable” or, to quote Beethoven, “music is a higher revelation than all our wisdom or philosophy”.
Fusions of words and sounds run like a thread through the entire festival – and are, in particular, represented by the «Language» cycle. Highly varied and many-layered examples from classical to modern music show how composers deal with language, “compose” with language and, ultimately, develop a musical language all their own. The key works of the «Language» cycle will be Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, Verdi’s Falstaff in a concert version, Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, Erwartung, and Survivors from Warsaw, Weill’s Berlin Requiem, Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3, Kaddish, as well as settings to texts from Mozart to Schubert up to the most recent examples of contemporary music. Musical styles and texts will range from the virtuoso settings of Trakl’s texts by Werb to sociocritical songs by Brecht & Weill or hits from the 1920s – in a recital with Matthias Goerne. Additional high-carat singers such as, among others, Cecilia Bartoli, Angelika Kirchschlager, and Thomas Quasthoff will transform language into music.
Eight first performances, among them works by prominent Swiss composers such as Klaus Huber, Heinz Holliger, Hanspeter Kyburz (and a new composition by Hans Ulrich Lehmann in its second performance) will show topical “strategies” applied to composing with words. Additional first performances will include contributions by Beat Furrer, this year’s composers-in-residence HK Gruber and Matthias Pintscher, and young Norwegian composer Rubben Sverre Gjertsen, with the latter writing a new work for the ensemble of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY with Pierre Boulez.
On August 10th in this Mozart Year of 2006, the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA with Claudio Abbado will open up with two arias and a motet by Mozart (sung by Cecilia Bartoli) as well as Mahler’s Symphony No. 6. In the following days the orchestra founded by maestro Abbado in 2003 will present Frank Martin’s Sechs Monologe aus Jedermann (soloist: Thomas Quasthoff), Berlioz’s Marche Funèbre from Tristia, three Mozart arias (soloist: Rachel Harnisch), Verdi’s Te Deum from Quattro pezzi sacri, Brahm’s Concerto No. 2 (soloist: Maurizio Pollini) and, finally, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4. Following the first and successful residency of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA in Rome in the autumn of 2005, a second guest performance by Claudio Abbado’s orchestra will follow at Suntory Hall in Japan from October 11th till October 19th, 2006.
The other orchestras-in-residence, that will provide the Festival with three concerts, each with its special touch, will include The Philadelphia Orchestra with Christoph Eschenbach, The Cleveland Orchestra with Franz Welser-Möst, the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest with Mariss Jansons, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Valery Gergiev, and HK Gruber and, finally, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra with Michael Tilson Thomas.
The 2006 “Artistes étoiles”, flutist Emmanuel Pahud and pianist and conductor András Schiff, will show the rich variety of their art as soloists and chamber musicians: Emmanuel Pahud and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra will play a work by Matthias Pintscher for the first time, a Baroque concerto with the Berlin Baroque Soloists and a jazz Late Night concert with the Jack Terrasson Trio. András Schiff will dedicate all of his concerts to Wolfgang Amadé Mozart and his jubilee: a piano recital, a chamber-music concert with the Quatuor Mosaïques and two symphony concerts with his Cappella Andrea Barca.
Anne-Sophie Mutter, too, will exclusively focus on the genius from Salzburg. She and Lambert Orkis will play all of Mozart’s sonatas for piano and violin. This small but sophisticated “round dance” dedicated to Mozart will conclude with the Mass in C minor, whose torso Robert Levin recently completed, the three last great symphonies played by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and Mozart’s last work, the Requiem.
The two composers-in-residence, HK Gruber and Matthias Pintscher, will use very different approaches as to style and compositional procedures in dealing with language. Composer, conductor, singer, and contrabass player HK Gruber belongs among the most renowned Austrian composers. Thanks to his close co-operation with poets such as HC Artmann and his dedication to singing, language is the focus of his playing music. Works set for a large orchestra by the composer will be presented, among them the first performance of his Hidden Agenda. You will be able to hear him as a chansonnier in his frankenstein!!! – with more than 440 performances since its first performance by Simon Rattle in 1978 one of the most frequently played contemporary pieces – and as a singer of Weill’s and Eisler’s always popular and topical songs.
Young German composer Matthias Pintscher, born 1971, looks back on an impressive history of performances with interpreters such as, among others, Claudio Abbado, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and The Cleveland Orchestra. His poetic composing is especially fired by the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé and Arthur Rimbaud. Examples as well as two first performances – for Emmanuel Pahud and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra with Daniel Harding and for a string trio – will be presented in a show of his works.
For the first time, the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY with Pierre Boulez will also dedicate itself to singing: in addition to 75 instrumentalists, 24 voice students will rehearse works from Schoenberg and Webern to Boulez, Berio, and Pintscher.
The third Roche Commission – a co-operation with The Cleveland Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, and Roche – was given to Swiss composer Hanspeter Kyburz. Suitable to the theme of «Language», he composed a work for soprano, tenor, and orchestra and focuses – with Mozart’s duets in the background – on the conversation and communication of lovers.Jointly with Pro Helvetia and WDR / Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, three commissions for voices and instruments were given to Swiss composers Annette Schmucki, Mischa Käser, and Michel Roth.In November 2005, the CREDIT SUISSE GROUP Young Artist Award was awarded to pianist Martin Helmchen. This award – an initiative of LUCERNE FESTIVAL, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Society of Friends of Music Vienna as well as the Jubilee Foundation of the CREDIT SUISSE GROUP – is endowed with CHF 75,000 and enables a debut concert with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Thus, Martin Helmchen will appear as a soloist at the concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with Valery Gergiev on September 10th, 2006.