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Salzburg contemporary 4

 05 August 2012 at 8.30 pm 

Salzburg contemporary 4

Salzburger Festspiele
various, Salzburg, Austria
ttel.: +43-662-8045-500

Heinz Holliger, Conductor
Felix Renggli, Flute
Latvian Radio Choir
Kaspars Putnins, Chorus Master
Ensemble Contrechamps

Holliger’s works are shot through with such ghost-like webs of reference, which contain his life’s experiences, dreams, but also music he has conducted and performed. That is why as an interpreter, he loves those composers who write porous music, music that remains fragile and fleeting. The two composers whose works are performed atSalzburg contemporary next to Holliger fit this description: the Pole Witold Lutos³awski and the German Bernd Alois Zimmermann. They suffered under fascism and communism, and only escaped death narrowly during their youth. They wrote music that questioned itself, confessed its own insecurity, but also bore the inscription of rebellion, even crying out at times. The most extreme work is presumably Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten, and it is a significant event that one of the most important operas since Mozart will now finally be produced in Salzburg.

Die Soldaten contains the full breadth of musical history, from the Middle Ages until today, from the most complex art music to folk music and jazz, a polyphonic web of references, stories, dreams and catastrophes, fed by a life experience that, in Zimmermann’s case, became so unbearable that he committed suicide. What is still relatively contained within the workings of the opera in Die Soldatenfinally breaks out openly in the Ekklesiastische Aktion: the tension of his times, the armament race, the bankrupting of all values, and Zimmermann’s own hopelessness are combined into one monumental gesture of desperation.

Alongside these works, Holliger’s Scardanelli-Zyklus seems like an ecclesiastical exercise. In 1806, Hölderlin, 36 years old at the time, sought refuge in the Tower in Tübingen, where he was to live for 37 years as a so-called madman, a recluse from the world, and only wrote occasionally in exchange for pipe tobacco, poems that are bright and cheerful and betray nothing of his former pains. He often signed them “Scardanelli”. Heinz Holliger was 36 when he began to study these late Hölderlin poems in 1975, and over the course of 15 years, he turned them into an ever-growing Scardanelli Cycle. This Scardanelli Cycle is another web into which Hölderlin’s life, his work, the flute music he played are woven.

Heinz Holliger’s second commission from the Salzburg Festival is a work for the winds and brass of the Vienna Philharmonic. During a serious illness, as he experienced breathlessness and a shortness of air – especially frightening to an oboist – Holliger conceived this music. We will hear sounds that might revive the Bunsen burner dream of Heinz Holliger’s boyhood.

Heinz Holliger : Scardanelli-Zyklus for solo flute, small orchestra, tape and mixed choir

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