Symphony Concert 29

Vienna Philharmonic | Daniel Harding

Debussy | Mahler

Sun, 10.09. | 17.00 | No. 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

    On 28 March 1842, members of the Imperial Court Opera Orchestra led by Otto Nicolai gave a concert in Vienna’s Grand Ballroom, thus inaugurating 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 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 era, with Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan, and Leonard Bernstein in particular making important contributions to the ensemble’s history. Over the course of its 177-year existence, the Vienna Philharmonic has given more than 9,000 concerts and performed on five continents. It has participated in the Salzburg Festival since 1922 and, since 1957, at LUCERNE FESTIVAL and is also 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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    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 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 1994 and, in 1996, with the Berlin Philharmonic, with which he continues to perform regularly. His first leadership positions led him to the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, which elected him Honorary Conductor for Life. He has been Principal Conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2007 and has extended his contract there until 2023. From 2016 to the summer of 2019, he headed the Orchestre de Paris and, from 2007 to 2016, he was additionally Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Harding also works with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Saxon Staatskapelle, the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the leading American orchestras. As an opera conductor, Harding has been a regular guest at the Aix-en-Provence Festival since 1998, where he led Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress in 2017. He has conducted works including Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro at the Salzburg Festival and Verdi’s Falstaff as well as Schubert’s Fierabras at La Scala in Milan. The Vienna, Bavarian, and Berlin Staatsoper companies as well as the Royal Opera House in London have also engaged him for a variety of productions. Daniel Harding was awarded the Premio Abbiati (Italian Critics’ Prize) 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. He has been a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres since 2002 and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music since 2012.

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

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