Mendelssohn & Wagner

Lucerne Festival Orchestra | Riccardo Chailly

Wagner | Mendelssohn

Fri, 08.04. | 19.30 | No. 221101

KKL Luzern, Concert Hall

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Spring Festival

08.04.-10.04. 2022



    Riccardo Chailly  conductor
    Richard Wagner (1813–1883)
    Prelude to the stage festival play Parsifal
    Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847)
    Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 107 Reformation Symphony
    Richard Wagner (1813–1883)
    Ride of the Valkyries from the third act of the opera Die Walküre
    Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847)
    Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56 Scottish

    Felix Mendelssohn and Richard Wagner: this hot-potato combination is weighed down by Wagner’s devastating anti-Semitic pamphlet titled Das Judentum in der Musik (“Judaism in
    Music”), in which he accused his colleague, who was four years his senior, of never having achieved a “deep effect capable of gripping the heart and soul” with his works. When this pamphlet came out in September 1850, Mendelssohn had already been dead for three years, so he could not defend himself. Nor could he point out the fact that Wagner had previously entreated patronage from him in submissive letters. This concert will demonstrate how much Wagner actually admired Mendelssohn. In his operas, he repeatedly took up Mendelssohn’s ideas. Even in his late Parsifal, the Grail theme quotes the “Dresden Amen,” which Mendelssohn had used 50 years before in his Reformation Symphony. With the Scottish Symphony, meanwhile, not only did the first movement’s stormy sounds inspire Wagner in The Flying Dutchman: the work is also close to the sound world of Die Walküre. Music knows better than words. And it speaks a language other than calumny.


    COVID-19: Conditions of access to the Festival will be adapted according to the decisions of the authorities (not yet known) which will be in force next April.

    Lucerne Festival Orchestra

    The summer of 2003 saw the birth of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, which was founded by the Italian conductor Claudio Abbado and the Festival’s Executive and Artistic Director Michael Haefliger. They established a link with the legendary “elite orchestra” for which Arturo Toscanini assembled acclaimed virtuosos of his time to create a magnificent ensemble, introducing it in a “Concert de Gala” in 1938, the year of the Festival’s founding. Abbado served as Music Director of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra up until his death in January 2014. He was succeeded in 2016 by Riccardo Chailly, who has since extended his contract until 2026. Guest conductors have included Andris Nelsons, Bernard Haitink, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and Herbert Blomstedt. The orchestra is composed of internationally renowned principals, chamber musicians, and music professors, as well as members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Filarmonica della Scala. Many of their performances have been broadcast on television and are now available on DVD or CD; these have been awarded such prizes as the Diapason d’or, the BBC Music Magazine Award, and the International Classical Music Award. Their most recent release is a Strauss CD, which appeared in 2019. On DVD, the first installment of their Rachmaninoff cycle under Chailly was released in 2020, featuring the Third Piano Concerto with soloist Denis Matsuev and the Third Symphony. Guest appearances have taken the Lucerne Festival Orchestra to numerous European musical capitals, as well as to New York, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.

    The Lucerne Festival Orchestra has been performing annually at the Summer Festival since its first appearance in 2003.

    August 2021

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    Riccardo Chailly

    Riccardo Chailly has been Music Director of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra since 2016. Born in Milan in 1953, he studied at the conservatories of Perugia, Rome, and Milan, as well as at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, and began his career as assistant to Claudio Abbado at La Scala in Milan. In 1980, Chailly was appointed Chief Conductor of the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin, and, in 1988, he took on the same position with the Royal Concertgebouworkest, which he led for 16 years. From 2005 to the summer of 2016, Riccardo Chailly served as Gewandhauskapellmeister in Leipzig, and he has held the position of Music Director at La Scala in Milan since January 2015. Chailly regularly conducts such leading European orchestras as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestre de Paris. In the United States, he has worked with the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As an opera conductor — in addition to his appearances at La Scala — he has performed at New York's Metropolitan Opera, London’s Royal Opera House, Zurich Opera, and the Bavarian and Vienna Staatsoper companies, as well as in Chicago and San Francisco. Chailly has received such distinctions for his more than 150 recordings as the Echo Klassik and the Gramophone Award. His most recent releases include performances of Strauss tone poems with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra (2019) and the album Cherubini Discoveries with the Filarmonica della Scala (2020). In 2015, he published a book of conversations about music titled Il segreto è nelle pause. Riccardo Chailly is a Grand’Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana, a Cavaliere di Gran Croce, and a Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion. In 1996, the Royal Academy of Music in London appointed him an honorary member, and since 2011 he has been an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 7 September 1988 with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam in a program of works by Wagner, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky

    July 2021

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    Introduction to the Concert | 18.30 | KKL Luzern, Auditorium
    with Susanne Stähr