September 9 – October 9 2016
There has never been a revolution that hasn't energised or glorified its ideals with 'revolutionary music'. But there have been revolutions in music that take place entirely inside music itself and turn things upside down. The 2016 Beethovenfest has set its sights precisely on these tensions and correlations.
The central figure here is Beethoven. The music of the French Revolution left a deep imprint on his creative output, from the 'Eroica' to the Ninth. That's why the 'Eroica' is the key work this season, whether in performance or in paraphrase, as in the newly commissioned work from the French 'spectralist' Hugues Dufourt. But Beethoven exemplifies more than revolutions inside music: 'Freedom', he said, 'lies in moving forward'. Accordingly, we shall hear many pieces that make musical revolutions audible only in their sounds. Berlioz, for instance, as well as Debussy and
Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Luigi Nono.
This year's programme has two points of focus predefined by the great European revolutions. The Toulouse National Orchestra (ander Tugan Sokhiev) and Les Siècles (under François-Xavier Roth) stand for the French Revolution, the Ural Philharmonic (with Boris Berezowsky) and Vladimir Tarnopolski's ensemble for its Russian counterpart. The striking cornerstones are Étienne- Nicolas Méhul's 'Coronation Mass' for Napoleon and Sergey Prokofiev's 'Cantata for the 20th anniversary of the October Revolution'. The revolutions in the Arab world, whose consequences are presently convulsing Europe, will find expression in music, words and dance. And revolutionary aspects join forces in Post-Modern American Dance, a co-production with the Cologne
A festival must be many-sided, but it can also be multi-hued. In addition to concerts by such renowned conductors as Kirill Petrenko, John Eliot Gardiner, Jiří Bělohlávek and Teodor Currentzis, and in addition to such famous artists as Hilary Hahn, Frank Peter Zimmermann and the Monteverdi Choir, there will also be panel discussions, jazz, crossovers and world music, not to mention an extensive 'outreach' programme.
I wish to express my warm gratitude to all our donors, sponsors and foundations as well as our honorary patron, Minister-President Hannelore Kraft, and of course to all our many visitors to this year's Beethovenfest.
The next festival runs from September 8th - October 1st 2017.