DW Festival Concert: Rheingau Music Festival | Music | DW

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This year’s Rheingau Music Festival featured sounds of great romantic works that embodied the 19th century literary and artistic celebration of human emotions, nature and the imagination.

The festival took place at Eberbach Abbey, located in the wine-growing hills of western Germany in the town of Eltville am Rhein. Built between 1136 and 1186, the former Cistercian monastery is one of the most famous abbeys in Europe and featured in the 1986 film, The name of the rose.

Each year the abbey hosts the opening concert of the Rheingau Music Festival, which always features the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. Direction Andres Orozco-Estrada.

A file photo of Sean Connery, who starred in the 1986 film “The Name of the Rose”

Scottish inspiration

Opening of the concert by composer Felix Mendelssohn The Hebrides kicked off the opening concert of this year’s Rheingau Music Festival.

Mendelssohn’s inspiration came from a trip he made to England and Scotland, and in particular to Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish island of Staffa. Staffa belongs to the Hebrides, a group of islands about 30 miles from the northwest coast of Scotland.

The howling winds and swelling swell Mendelssohn experienced as he traveled there by steamboat were later captured in the opening.

His British audiences were delighted by the music. As did the audience at Eberbach Abbey on June 26, 2021. The performance featured the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by then conductor Andres Orozco-Estrada.

It’s still an intense piece, but the sound of the orchestra has been made even more powerful by the concert hall, the Abbey Basilica, and its eventful history.

A view of North Uist Island after sunset

The Scottish Isles Inspired Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides”

“He has a colorful past,” said festival founder and director Michael Hermann. “It was a monastery for a long time, then it was plundered by the Swedes during the 30 years war. Today you will find the Abbey Library in Sweden. It later became a psychiatric institution, and it also served school and prison. But now it’s a foundation and it’s only used for cultural events. “

Conjuration of images and landscapes

The second piece of the last episode of the DW Festival Concert is a violin concerto by 19th-century Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Sibelius, who originally wanted to be a concert violinist, wrote this virtuoso composition with its atmospheric sounds in 1903. It was not well received by critics. Today, however, the Sibelius Violin Concerto is part of the standard violin repertoire.

“The beginning of the piece is something very special, because the orchestra creates such a shimmering sound, an association with fog and snow. Listening to Sibelius, one cannot help but think of pictures and landscapes . ” Augustin Hadelich, solo violinist, tells.

Hadelich likes the round, warm and full sound of the instrument, but the opening of the Sibelius violin concerto begins with very delicate sounds of the violin. The orchestra, meanwhile, will begin with a sparse and scintillating soundscape that will expand as the piece progresses.

Hadelich plays with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andres Orozco-Estrada.

Religious history

Mendelssohn composed his Symphony of the Reformation for the celebrations surrounding the 300th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession. And if you are not up to your religious history, this is one of the first founding Protestant texts written in 1530 by the theologian and church reformer Martin Luther.

Different choral melodies appear throughout the different movements of the Symphony of the Reformation. They all culminate in the latest well-known chorale, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”, written by Martin Luther.

The performance by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5, the Symphony of the Reformation received a lot of applause. Andres Orozco-Estrada led, using his whole body, making big gestures. Sometimes he was so energetic that it seemed like the podium could barely contain him.

Baroque inspiration

The final piece is the Pulcinella Suite, composed by Russian musician Igor Stravinsky. “Pulcinella” is an Italian theater style comic series character called “commedia dell’arte”. Stravinsky composed the ballet music in 1920 for a small orchestra. This makes it perfect for touring today, as the pandemic means spectator numbers are limited.

The ballet was composed during what is called Stravinsky’s neoclassical phase. During this period, the composer took inspiration from earlier styles of music, such as the baroque dance music of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. But Stravinsky added his own twist to things.

Conductor Paavo Järvi explains: “This typical Stravinsky needs to surprise all the time, to add something that is not necessarily expected. And that’s his signature. And this piece is actually kind of a masterpiece.

Järvi conducted the musicians of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, known for their clear sound and precision. The orchestra performed the Pulcinella Suite in numerous festivals, notably at the Rheingau Music Festival on June 30th.

However, this concert was not recorded, so instead we will hear a performance from the Kissinger Sommer Music Festival in Bavaria, recorded by Bavarian Public Radio.

That’s all in this edition of the DW Festival Concert. Join us next time with host Cristina Burack.

Performances presented in this DW festival concert:

1. Félix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Overture “The Hebrides” op. 26

Performed by: Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Andres Orozco-Estrada

Recorded by Hessian Radio (HR) in Kloster Eberbach on June 26, 2021

Cristina Burack

Cristina Burack, host of the DW Festival concert

2. Jean Sibelius, Violin Concerto in D minor, op. 47, Allegro moderato, Adagio di molto, Allegro ma non tanto

Performed by: Augustin Hadelich, violin

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Andres Orozco-Estrada

Recorded by Hessian Radio (HR) in Kloster Eberbach on June 26, 2021

3. Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Symphony No. 5 in D minor, op. 107, Reform, Andante – Allegro con fuoco – Allegro vivace – Andante

Choral “A mighty fortress is our God” (Andante con moto – Allegro vivace – Allegro maestoso)

Performed by: Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Andres Orozco-Estrada

Recorded by Hessian Radio (HR) in Kloster Eberbach on June 26, 2021

4. Igor Stravinsky, Pulcinella Suite

Performed by: Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen

Conductor: Paavo Järvi

Recorded by Bavarian Public Radio (BR) at the Kissinger Summer Music Festival on June 25, 2021

Produced at Deutsche Welle with sound engineer Thomas Schmidt, Russian producer and host Anastassia Boutsko, and host Cristina Burack. Text and production by Gaby Reucher.


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