At the helm of the Staatskapelle Berlin, Daniel Barenboim was celebrated for presenting a very broad, rich repertoire that encompassed the complete symphonic and operatic works of selected composers. Besides all of the operas of Richard Wagner, he led the orchestra in the complete symphonic works of Ludwig van Beethoven and Robert Schumann. At the festival FESTSTAGE in 2007, Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez together performed all of the symphonies of Gustav Mahler.
The music of Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) is no exception in this case – the Staatskapelle Berlin recorded a complete cycle of his symphonies to great acclaim in 2010. The German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung summed up their performances as follows: “Both Bruckner’s faith in God, which is expressed directly in the chorale of the Fifth, and his pessimistic view of this world go hand in hand in Barenboim’s conception.” The conductor’s experience with operatic music is described as “a dramatic instrumental battle between Bruckner’s God and the Devil – between Heaven and Hell – but without the equilibrium of this monumental work being disturbed work being.” At what is only historically its second appearance at Prague Spring (the first time was in 1967), the Staatskapelle Berlin will offer listeners the original version of this truly magnificent opus.
Bruckner was notorious for constantly revising his works, and he returned to his Fifth several times. Besides changes to the instrumentation, which is entirely Wagnerian in spirit (Bruckner admired the music of Richard Wagner all his life), in later versions he also made changes to the Finale. Paradoxically, the composer was unable to attend the orchestral premiere in 1894 because of illness, so he actually never heard the symphony played by an orchestra during his lifetime.
With the playing of such outstanding performers, this concert will be one of the major events of the 2016 season, one which lovers of Romantic music in particular absolutely should not miss.
Founded by Joachim Frederick of Brandenburg in 1570, the Staatskapelle Berlin is today one of the world’s oldest orchestras. In 1742, Frederick the Great expanded its activities, which had originally involved only concerts, by the founding of the Royal Court Opera, known today as the Staatsoper Unter den Linden. That combination of concerts and opera continues to this day. Over the years, the Staatskapelle Berlin has had a succession of great conductors including Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Richard Strauss, Herbert von Karajan, and Richard Wagner, who gave the premiere of Der fliegende Holländer there in 1844 and conducted the ensemble in the Berlin premiere of Tristan und Isolde. Daniel Barenboim has been at the helm since 1992. Among his most brilliant feats was a complete cycle of the orchestral songs and symphonies of Gustav Mahler (in collaboration with Pierre Boulez) in Berlin, at the Musikverein in Vienna, and in New York at Carnegie Hall. During his era, the orchestra has been declared the “Orchestra of the Year” a total of five times by the prestigious journal Opernwelt. During the first decade of the 21st century, the Staatskapelle Berlin won the Wilhelm Furtwängler Prize, which is awarded for extraordinary artistic achievement, and it has earned several important awards for its recording projects: Grand Prix du Disque (2002), a Grammy Award (2003), and ECHO Klassik (2007).
A native of Buenos Aires, the pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim can be called without exaggeration a living legend of classical music. He has worked with the great Nadia Boulanger, Leopold Stokowski, Arthur Rubinstein, Zubin Mehta, Otto Klemperer, and Pierre Boulez as well as with members of the younger generation including Yo-Yo Ma and Maxim Vengerov (a legendary recording of the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra). He has stood at the helm of the Orchestre de Paris, and from 1989 until 2006 he was the principal conductor and music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Since 1992 he has been engaged at the Staatskapelle Berlin. Listing all the titles and honors that have been conferred on him would take up a truly impressive amount of space. We will at least mention his titles as a United Nations Messenger of Peace and a Commandeur dans l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur, his Honorary Doctor of Music Degree from Oxford University, and his Gold Medal from the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.
A 20% individual discount to all exhibits at the National Gallery in Prague info+
A 20% individual discount to all exhibits at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art info+
A 50% discount on train fare on Czech Railways trains for travel to 2016 Prague Spring info+
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