Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, Anton Bruckner and Johannes Brahms: the musical programme of the opening ceremony focusses on the four most important protagonists of the „musical dispute“, the great feud between the „New Germans“ and the „Traditionalists“. At the same time the chosen works form a four-movement symphonic structure consisting of two substantial outer movements, a slow movement and a scherzo.
The cheerful, easy-going quality which the last two pieces have in common - the minuet-like original version of the scherzo of Bruckner's 1st Symphony, and Brahms' Academic Festival Overture, composed in 1880 on the occasion of the award of an honorary doctorate to the composer by the University of Breslau, which Brahms dubbed ironically „a hilarious pot-pourri of student songs à la Suppé, are preceded by a symphonic poem of the „exponent of the New Music“ Liszt and by Wagner's prelude to Parsifal, two vastly more dramatic works.
The later ideological appropriation of both works in the Third Reich – the trumpet call from Liszt's Les Préludes acquired regrettable popularity as the „Russian fanfare“ which introduced the armed forces report on the radio – provides another level of historical significance at the opening ceremony of the Bruckner Festival 2020 with its motto „controversies“.
Franz Liszt (1811–1886)
Les Préludes. Symphonic Poem No. 3, S. 97 (1849–55)
Richard Wagner (1813–1883)
Prelude to Act 1 of the „Bühnenweihfestspiels“ Parsifal, WWV 111 (1857–82)
Anton Bruckner (1824–1896)
Scherzo in G minor, original verion of the 3rd movement of Symphony No. 1 in C minor, WAB 101 (1865)
Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)
Academic Festival Overture in C minor, Op. 80 (1880)
Waris Dirie | Speaker
Fanny Hensel Concert Choir
Sigurd Hennemann | Choir director
Upper Austria Youth Symphony Orchestra
Adrien Perruchon | Conductor