Monday, July 26, 2010

Der Meister kommt!

Weimar, long considered Germany's intellectual capital, boasts a musical patrimony without compare: Bach was organist at the ducal court from 1708 to 1717; Strauss made his home for five years amidst the town's winding streets; and, for three short days in 1849, this small settlement on the edge of the Thuringian Forest harboured Wagner on his flight from Dresden.

It was Franz Liszt (1811-1886) who welcomed the fleeing Wagner, and it was Liszt who, a year later, directed the première of Wagner's Lohengrin at Weimar’s Court Theatre.  Thuringia will fete the bi-centenary of the Hungarian genius in October 2011 with a string of celebratory concerts and historical visits in and around Weimar.

Der Meister kommt!” - Liszt’s awe-struck students received their privileged tuition in the Hofgärtnerei, the former quarters of the court gardener that served as the composer’s Weimar residence.  The master’s house, now transformed into a museum, will make the perfect setting for a recital on the grand piano donated to Liszt in the final year of his life by Carl Bechstein.  Weimar’s ducal palace will welcome guests to an evening of Liszt and Schubert Lieder, and the festivities will be crowned by an anniversary concert featuring the brilliant young conductor Christian Thielemann alongside Konstantin Scherbakov, the winner of the first Rachmaninov Piano Competition.

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