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    Death and Optimists // Concerts of the Salzburg Festival and their leitmotifs

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    Flight, emigration, loneliness – paying tribute to the virtuosos, the concert program of the Salzburg Festival does not avoid the sad. Narrated by Alexey Mokrousov.

    Some heroes of Salzburg do not change for decades. The Russian pianistic school has long become such a collective performer. This summer, at the last minute due to illness, Yevgeny Kissin canceled the concert, but Grigory Sokolov, Arkady Volodos, Igor Levit, Daniil Trifonov remained. Someday they too will reach statistical heights Maurizio Pollini: The 80-year-old pianist has been performing in Salzburg since 1973. Conductor Riccardo Muti also made his debut in Salzburg during the time of Herbert von Karajan and since 1971 has not missed almost a single summer. He has not conducted operas for a long time, but two concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in mid-August are sacred. -Pekka Salonen, and chief conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra Andris Nelsons. He conducted, in particular, Mahler’s Fifth Symphony – year after year the festival “collects” all Mahler’s symphonies. Next spring, Nelsons will receive carte blanche at the Salzburg Easter Festival – the Leipzig orchestra will be the main and only one there: the era of Christian Thielemann and his brilliant Dresden team ended on an unpleasant note. The quartermaster of the summer festival, Markus Hinterhäuser, supported Thielemann and gave him the opportunity to perform twice: with crowns, he performed, of course, Austro-German authors – Brahms’ Rhapsody and Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony.

    Vienna Philharmonic – the main , but not the only orchestra of the festival, here are the West-Eastern Divan, the SWR orchestra conducted by the recent winner of the Salzburg conducting competition Maxim Pascal (there is no competition this year), and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. Towards the end, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and a group invited from across the ocean traditionally arrive. This year, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with Manfred Honeck will perform excerpts from Messiaen’s Tristan and Isolde and Turangalila, while the Berliners, under the baton of Kirill Petrenko, will play Mahler’s Seventh and Shostakovich’s Tenth. This is how the program loops: the festival was opened by Shostakovich – the 13th symphony “Babi Yar” – performed by the Mahler Orchestra and Teodor Currentzis. The latter is preparing for the debut of its new offspring – the Utopia orchestra, assembled from 112 musicians from 28 countries, will perform for the first time in October in Luxembourg, Hamburg and Vienna; Utopia is supposed to have a festival character.

    Shostakovich turned out to be one of the heroes of the chamber music program. The Hagen Quartet performed his last three quartets – the 13th, 14th and 15th. “Hagen” plays as if it were the last time – for this constant dedication to the limit of possibilities, the Salzburg quartet is appreciated. The last works of the composers became a running theme of the chamber program: at the evening “Renaud Capuçon and friends”, where the “Hagen” also participated, the late Richard Strauss sounded – a string sextet from the opera “Capriccio” and “Metamorphoses” for a string septet (arrangement of 1945, unfinished by the author reconstructed by Rudolf Leopold), between them – Mozart’s String Quintet.

    Another leitmotif of this year’s festival was Dante’s Inferno. If such a leitmotif can have an epigraph in the form of a concert, then this is Matthias Görne’s evening. Accompanied by Markus Hinterhäuser, he performed an unexpected program of songs by Schumann, Schubert and Hans Eisler (1898–1962). Görne is no stranger to romantics, although this is an event every time, but the appearance of Eisler in their company with songs based on Brecht’s verses is unexpected. A staunch communist, later the author of the GDR anthem, Eisler did not want to leave Hollywood, and then, having become the winner of two state awards in socialist Berlin, he did not hand over his Austrian passport.

    Görne and Hinterhäuser produce piece products; four years ago they struck with a program from the melancholy Schumann. Now Görne probably thought that he was not in the best shape – he fell ill, went on stage with a temperature and therefore, probably, banned the recording of the concert, even technical, for the archive of the festival. This is insanely offensive; such an emotional and at the same time restrained, heartfelt, but without pathos statement is a rarity even in the world of great art. What pathos can there be when it comes to the bitter bread of exile? The Hollywood Songbook was written in 1942-1943; the outcome of the war was unclear, even the optimists did not think about returning home. Brecht’s poems – that for an emigrant “hell and heaven can be one city.” However, Eisler was not going to lose heart: the Hollywood Book also includes songs to the words of Blaise Pascal, and one begins with the statement that, despite all the difficulties, a person would like one thing – to be happy. Art does not heal, but creates an illusion.

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