From 30 August to 18 September 2013, the new 2013/2014 season gets under way with Musikfest Berlin, organised by the Berliner Festspiele in cooperation with the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation. 24 events in 20 days with 64 works by 25 composers will be presented in the Philharmonie, its Chamber Music Hall and the Konzerthaus in Berlin, performed by 20 orchestras, choirs, instrumental and vocal ensembles and 25 international soloists.
This year, the music world is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Witold Lutosławski, and Musikfest Berlin is taking this occasion to explore the musical oeuvre of those composers who come from Central Europe: from Poland, such as Lutosławski, from Hungary, such as Béla Bartók, and from the Czech Republic, such as Leoš Janáček. An interest in folk music linked Janáček with Bartók, and the music of Bartók was the first important point of reference for Lutosławski’s composition style. He commemorated his Hungarian colleague in his Musique funèbre and like him, wrote a brilliant Concerto for Orchestra that need fear no comparison with the earlier work. At the same time, his music was inspired more and more by French art music and literature.
The Musikfest Berlin programme presents a selection of his major orchestral works, as well as those of Béla Bartók and Janáček, including the Glagolitic Mass and the rarely performed fragment of the Violin Concerto, The Wandering of a Little Soul. It is also the 100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten’s birth, and his music is, with a few exceptions, rarely performed in concerts today in continental Europe. Musikfest Berlin presents his music in the context of the late symphonies of Dmitri Shostakovich, with whom he struck up a friendship.
In addition to the orchestral concerts, this year’s Musikfest Berlin also includes a string quartet cycle with three events in which all six of Bartók’s quartets will be performed, as well as Janáček’s second string quartet Intimate Letters in its original version with the viola d’amore. Chamber music also brings Musikfest Berlin to a close: A solo violin recital with Carolin Widmann, and an IPPNW benefit concert for Human Rights Watch with András Schiff and Hanno Müller-Brachmann.