Symphony Concert 29

Vienna Philharmonic | Daniel Harding

Debussy | Mahler

Sun, 17361

KKL Luzern, Concert Hall

Vergangenes Konzert

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Summer Festival

11.08.-10.09. 2017



    Daniel Harding  conductor

    60th anniversary of the Vienna Philharmonic’s Lucerne debut

    Claude Debussy (1862–1918)
    Suite from Pelléas et Mélisande
    arranged by Erich Leinsdorf
    Gustav Mahler (1860–1911)
    Symphony No. 6 in A minor

    How strongly is our identity dominated by external constraints, coincidences, and twists of fate? The final concert of the Summer Festival offers a clear answer. In Claude Debussy’s opera Pelléas et Mélisande, a grim fatalism reigns, and the heroes are only victims who sense a doom that they cannot oppose: fin de siècle – a mood of apocalypse? Gustav Mahler intensifies this atmosphere into nothing less than catastrophe when he has fate not just knock on the door but symbolically strike with a monstrous hammer blow. His widow Alma believed that Mahler anticipated his own fate: the loss of his prestigious position as the director of the Vienna Court Opera, the death of their little daughter Maria, and the heart disease from which he would die at the age of just 50. In spite of all the anxiety we might sense in it, Mahler’s Sixth Symphony is a marvelous confessional work – especially when performed by the Vienna Philharmonic and by a Mahlerian as fiery as Daniel Harding.

    Vienna Philharmonic

    A concert given on 28 March 1842 by members of the Imperial Court Opera Orchestra and led by Otto Nicolai in Vienna’s Grand Ballroom inaugurated the Vienna Philharmonic. The principles established then have remained in place. One is the stipulation that only musicians of the Vienna Staatsoper (the Court Opera at the time) can become members. Another is that all decisions regarding artistic, organizational, and financial autonomy are made by general assembly. In 1877 the Philharmonic performed for the first time outside Vienna at the Salzburg Music Festival; in 1900 came the first performance abroad, at the Paris World Exposition, with Gustav Mahler conducting. In addition to Mahler, other composers who have appeared on the podium include Wagner, Verdi, Bruckner, Brahms, and, most notably, Richard Strauss. The list of music directors includes such names as Hans Richter, Felix Weingartner, Wilhelm Furtwängler, and Clemens Krauss. Starting in 1933, the model of a permanent chief conductor was replaced by that of a close artistic collaboration with outstanding artistic personalities of the time, with Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan, and Leonard Bernstein in particular making important contributions to the ensemble’s history. Since being founded, the Vienna Philharmonic has given some 9,000 concerts and performed on five continents. It has been a part of the Salzburg Festival since 1922 and of LUCERNE FESTIVAL since 1957 and is currently a regular guest at the Vienna Festwochen and Salzburg Mozartwoche, additionally offering its own concert series in New York, Paris, London, and Japan. Highlights of each season include the New Year’s Concert, which is broadcast to over 90 countries, and the Summer Night Concert at Schönbrunn, attended annually by up to 100,000 people. Rolex is the exclusive partner of the Vienna Philharmonic.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 1 September 1957 in a program of works by Schumann, Barber, and Beethoven, with Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting.

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    July 2018

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    Daniel Harding

    Daniel Harding, who was born in 1975 in Oxford, began his career as an assistant to Simon Rattle and Claudio Abbado. He made his debuts leading the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 1994 and, in 1996, the Berlin Philharmonic, with whom he enjoys a regular association today. His first leadership positions were with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, the German Chamber Philharmonic in Bremen, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, which has since named him Honorary Conductor for Life. In 2007 he began his tenure as head of the Swedish Radio Symphony, and since 2016 he has also helmed the Orchestre de Paris; he was additionally Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Harding works with many other celebrated orchestras, from the Vienna Philharmonic, the Dresden Staatskapelle, and the Leipzig Gewandhaus through the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra to the major American ensembles. As an opera conductor, Harding has enjoyed a close relationship with the Aix-en-Provence Festival since 1998, where he led Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress in 2017. Among his credits at the Salzburg Festival credits are Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro, and at La Scala in Milan he has conducted Mozart’s Idomeneo, the verismo double bill I Pagliacci/Cavalleria rusticana, and Verdi’s Falstaff. He has also been engaged for various productions by the Vienna, Bavarian, and Berlin Staatsoper companies and the Royal Opera House in London. Harding won the Premio Abbiati, awarded by Italian critics, in 2011. His recordings have garnered the Choc de l’Année, the Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros, the Gramophone Award, and a Grammy Award. He has been a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres since 2002 and a member of the Royal Swedish Music Academy since 2012.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 16 August 2003 with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in works by Haydn, Kelterborn, and Schumann.

    April 2017

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