The German festival season presents a cross-section of the world's most exciting classical music artists and a mix of repertory from old favorites to new discoveries. Hosted by Rick Fulker, Deutsche Welle Festival Concerts is a weekly series of electrifying performances by top German orchestras like the NDR Symphony and the Bamberg Symphony, alternating with superb orchestras from abroad, including Poland's Sinfonia Varsovia, Russia's Ural Symphony to Great Britain's Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and London Symphony Orchestra. Rudolf Buchbinder, Julia Fischer and Boris Berezovsky are among the soloists.
Two very different kinds of tributes are highlighted: homages to queens by Handel and Purcell as interpreted by France's Le concert spirituel - and joyful celebration of the Virgin Mary on the part of Christianized native South Americans in the 17th and 18th centuries, rendered by an ensemble from Cuba.
Le concert spirituel
George Frideric Handel: The Ways of Zion Do Mourn
Henry Purcell: Funeral Sentences for Queen Mary
Henry Purcell: Come, ye Sons of Art
Diego Jose de Salazar: Come out, tired bull
Anonymous: Lanchas Para Baylar
Tomas de Torrejon y Velasco: What does my faith say about this beautiful rose?
Tomas de Torrejon y Velasco: Oh see, oh hear
The Beethovenfest in Bonn commissions new music every year, stipulating that the composer must be inspired by and refer back to a work by Ludwig van Beethoven. Here are the results of Hugues Dufourt's encounter with Beethoven's "Eroica" - and the original too.
West German Radio Symphony Orchestra, Cologne
Marek Janowski, conductor
Hugues Dufourt: Primal Sound, Rilke 1919
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 "Eroica"
Nicolas Altstedt, cello; Alexander Lonquich, piano
Ludwig van Beethoven: Cello Sonata No. 5 in D Major, Op. 102 No. 2
Ludwig van Beethoven: Cello Sonata No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 5 Rondo
Audiences adore him - and concert agents fear him - for his spontaneity. His playing is strong and virtuosic, his manner direct. Just before the recital, Boris Berezovsky informed listeners in the Beethoven Hall that instead of Ligeti and Stravinky - as indicated in the brochure - he'd prefer to play Liszt. An evening of fireworks! Another Russian pianist, Yulianna Avdeeva, is acclaimed for her perfect taste, enchanting piano sound and technical supremacy. We have part of her recital from the Wartburg, in central Germany.
Boris Berezovsky, piano
Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata No. 13 in E-flat Major, Op. 27 No. 1
Frederic Chopin: Twelve Etudes, Op. 10
Domenico Scarlatti: Three Sonatas, K. 20, K. 43 and K. 96
Bela Bartok: Piano Sonata, Sz. 80
Franz Liszt: Transcendental etudes, No. 4 "Mazeppa," No. 5 "Will-o'-the-wisp," No. 8 "Wild Hunt," No. 9 "Ricordanza," and No. 11 "Evening Harmonies"
Yulianna Avdeeva, piano
Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata No. 27 in E minor, Op. 90
Ludwig van Beethoven: 32 Variations in C minor, WoO 80
Yekaterinburg is a major city in the Ural Mountains of Russia, on the border between Europe and Asia. From there, the Symphonic Chorus of the Yekaterinburg Philharmonic regularly embarks on concert tours to western Europe, presenting three hundred years of music from the incomparable Russian choral tradition - including works by well-known composers such as Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Stravinsky, but also lesser known composers worth discovering.
Symphonic Chorus of the Yekaterinburg Philharmonic
Andrek Petrenko, conductor
Sergei Rachmaninov: Excerpts from "The Great Evening and Morning Praise"
Alexander Arkhangelsky: Choral concerto "I Think of the Day of Wrath"
Pavel Chesnokov: Blessed is the Man
Modest Mussorgsky: The Angel Cried Out
Georgy Sviridov: The Bells of Twilight, Holy Love
Pavel Chesnokov: God is With Us
Mikhail Glinka: Venetian Night
Alexaner Dargomyzhsky: The Storm Covers the Sky With Darkness
Alexander Varlamov: Why Should I Live Alone and Grieve?
Sergeo Tarneyev: See, What Darkness
Artur Rubinstein: The Mountaintops
Alexander Alyabiev: Nightingale
Valery Gavrilin: Sunset Music
Sergei Rachmaninov: We Praise Thee
Jan Vogler is not only an internationally noted cellist and chamber musician, he also directs the Dresden Music Festival. That festival has had its own orchestra for five years, bringing together specialists in historically informed performance practice from all over Europe. We'll hear both orchestra and cellist on the search for the original Dresden sound, performing works that Schumann composed in that city.
Dresden Festival Orchestra
Ivor Bolton, conductor
Jan Vogler, cello
Robert Schumann: Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129
Robert Schumann: Symphony No. 2 in C Major, Op. 61
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Jan Vogler, cello
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme in A Major, Op. 33
With the most recent Beethovenfest in Bonn focusing on the theme of "Revolutions," Turkish pianist Seda Roder assembled a much-acclaimed program of music written during and inspired by the Arab Spring. And for the Beethovenfest's Campus Concert, Deutsche Welle commissioned a new work of music by Mexican composer Enrico Chapela based on a curious historic event involving Mexico and Germany during World War I.
Seda Roder, piano
Kristina Quintaba, mezzo-soprano; Ekkehard Windrich, violin;
Nidhal Jebali: Three movements for piano
Souhaly Guesmi: O People!
Amr Okba: F.B.I. (Facebook Information
Hasan Hujairi: An Absolute History of Hades
Zaid Jabri: Variations on (R)evolution
Tolga Yayalar: Songs from the Days of June
National Youth Orchestra of Germany
State Youth Chorus of North Rhine-Westphalia
Alondra de la Parra, conductor
Pablo Garibay, guitar; Daniel Todd, tenor; Juanra Urrusti, baritone; Daniel Pannermayr, bass
Enrico Chapela: Zimergramm
Carlos Chavez: Caballos de Vapor
A festival can do things that normal subscription concerts cannot, such as explore a complete genre. The 2016 Beethovenfest in Bonn devoted one entire weekend to bagatelles for piano, another to piano trios. In highlights from both, we put the spotlight on bagatelles by Beethoven and others - and Schubert's magnificent E-flat Piano Trio.
Thomas Wypior, piano
Ludwig van Beethoven: Six Bagatelles, Op. 126
Ben Cruchley, piano
Ludwig van Beethoven: Eleven Bagatelles, Op. 119
Siegfried Mauser, piano
Franz Liszt: Bagatelle without tonality, S. 216a
Bela Bartok: Six Bagatelles, Op. 6
Arnold Schoenberg: Six little piano pieces, Op. 19
Veronika Eberle, violin; Andreas Brantelid, cello; Shai Wosner, piano
Franz Schubert: Piano Trio No. 2 in E-flat Major, Op. 100
The Barenboim-Said Academy recently began operations, giving students from the Middle East instruction in arts and the humanities to promote intercultural understanding. Located in the heart of Berlin, at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, the Academy has a brand-new concert hall named after the great French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez. At the hall's inauguration on March 4, a stellar lineup of artists headed by Daniel Barenboim came together to celebrate the new concert space dedicated to beloved classics and music of our time.
Daniel Barenboim, piano and conductor
Michael Barenboim, violin
Karim Said, piano
Anna Prohaska, soprano; Jörg Widmann, clarinet
Pierre Boulez: Initiale
Franz Schubert: The Shepherd on the Rock, D. 965
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, K. 493
Alban Berg: Chamber concerto for piano and violin with 13 wind instruments
Jorg Widmann: Fantasy for solo clarinet