MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Yuja Wang in Conversation with Michael Haefliger

New from Lucerne Festival:

Filed under: Lucerne Festival, pianists

Lucerne Festival Cancellation

Another round of bad news begins. While musical life with restrictions was continuing this fall in Europe, the coronavirus pandemic is far from over and is now causing a new round of cancellations. Today Lucerne Festival announced that it has been forced to cancel the “Beethoven Farewell” Fall Festival originally planned for late November.

From the press release:

We had been so looking forward to celebrating our “Beethoven Farewell” with you at the end of November and thus to concluding the difficult year 2020 in a spirit full of hope.

But the coronavirus pandemic has caught up with us again, and the second wave is frustrating our wonderful plans. After the latest decisions by the Swiss Federal Council, which were taken on 28 October 2020, it is unfortunately no longer possible to hold this Fall Festival. Therefore, with a heavy heart we must inform you that the five concerts we had planned cannot take place.

We are in close contact with Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Igor Levit, the two protagonists of “Farewell Beethoven,” and are already discussing how we might reschedule these projects and make up for lost time. We will keep you informed about all further  developments – and hopefully come back to you soon with better news.

Filed under: Lucerne Festival, music news

Life Is Live Festival

Time for live performances to begin again in Lucerne. On Friday Lucerne Festival launches “Life Is Live”, a ten-day-long series of events that invite audiences back into the KKL Concert Hall and other venues.

The Opening Concert also marks a belated debut for the 93-year-old Herbert Blomstedt, who will conduct the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA for the very first time.

Here’s a list of ways to hear programs being broadcast via livestreams and radio. For example, the Opening Concert (with Martha Argerich as the soloist in Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto) will be transmitted with a short time-delay, starting at 2pm EST on 14 August on SRF2.

Other notable events: two all-Beethoven recitals with Igor Levit, an all-Schumann recital by the young tenor Mauro Peter, a recital by the saxophonist Valentine Michaud, and Cecilia Bartoli and friends in the Handel-inspired program “What Passion Cannot Music Raise”.

Filed under: Lucerne Festival, music news

Life Is Live

One sign of hope at least in the music world with regard to live performance: Lucerne Festival, after having to cancel its meticulously planned Summer Festival, has announced a short festival of 10 days that will take its place. Unlike the United States, Switzerland has a functioning government that has actually taken the coronavirus pandemic seriously and is thus in a position to start carefully relaxing restrictions on audience gatherings.

Titled Life Is Live, the short festival includes Martha Argerich and Herbert Blomstedt with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in the opening concerts, as well as a pair of recitals by Igor Levit, who continues his complete Beethoven sonata cycle.

Filed under: COVID-19 Era, Lucerne Festival, music festivals, music news

Bernard Haitink Bids Adieu

BH-2019

Tonight is the night: after farewell concerts in Amsterdam and London, Bernard Haitink will officially raise his baton for the last time when he conducts the Vienna Philharmonic is his very last concert at the 2019 Lucerne Festival. The concert has long been sold out.

Yesterday Haitink and his wife Patricia were the special guests at the vernissage launching the new book by Erich Singer and Peter Hagmann: Bernard Haitink: Dirigieren ist ein Rätsel. The maestro was visibly moved by the tributes to his life and legacy.

On tonight’s program, Haitink will conduct Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with Emanuel Ax in the solo role. Could you imagine a more graceful exit from such a distinguished career?

Filed under: Anton Bruckner, Beethoven, Bernard Haitink, conductors, Lucerne Festival

Chailly Meets the Lucerne Festival Academy Alumni

One of the programs I’m most looking forward to in Lucerne is the Academy Alumni Orchestra program this Sunday, which will be led by Riccardo Chailly, music director of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.

Yesterday, Wolfgang Rihm and Mariano Chiacchiarini introduced the culminating work of the program: Rihm’s early orchestral composition Dis-Kontur from 1974, which starts off with a post-’68 generation update of the catastrophic hammer blows familiar from Mahler, Berg, and Schoenberg. As Ulrich Mosch writes:

Fundamental to Rihm’s pieces for orchestra was his decision to refrain from transforming the orchestra into a large, structurally controlled “sound generator” and from reinventing the ensemble by taking the approach of reorganising it according to “internal, social” assumptions – a co-op effort of equally entitled individuals or a self-regulating social and musical system, for instance.

The rest of the program that Chailly will conduct the Soviet Alexander Mosolov’s The Iron Foundry, Bruno Maderna’s Grande Aulodia for flute and oboe solo with orchestra (Swiss premiere), and Schoenberg’s Five Orchestra Pieces.

 

UPDATE: You can watch this splendid concert here:

 

Filed under: Lucerne Festival, Lucerne Festival Academy

Chailly Conducts Mahler 6 in Lucerne

A powerful program coming up tonight with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra:

Filed under: Lucerne Festival, Mahler

Lucerne’s 2019 Summer Festival Opening: Livestreamed

You don’t have to be in Lucerne to listen to the Opening Concert of the 2019 Summer Festival tomorrow (16 August). The program will be live-streamed KKL Concert Hall by arte here at 18:50 Swiss time. SRF 1 will also broadcast the concert with a time delay (22.25 Swiss time) and on arte concert (18.50 Swiss time).

Riccardo Chailly will lead the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in an all-Rachmaninoff program: the Third Piano Concerto (with Denis Matsuev as the soloist); Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14 (orchestral version); and the Third Symphony.

 

Filed under: Lucerne Festival, Rachmaninoff

Bernard Haitink Announces Retirement

Now it’s official: Bernard Haitink has announced that he will conduct his last concert on  September 2019 in Lucerne. His farewell: Bruckner’s Seventh (along with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with Murray Perahia as the soloist).

Filed under: conductors, Lucerne Festival, music news

Late-Night Liszt

I’d never heard Till Fellner live before but am now a convert. He played this as an encore after his rainwater-clear account of Mozart’s K. 503 C major Concerto on the first half of the finale concert of the 2019 Easter Festival in Lucerne on Palm Sunday.

Filed under: Franz Liszt, Lucerne Festival, Mozart, pianists

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