Winfried Bönig may not have imagined it even in his dreams – but when the telephone rang and he was invited to an interview at the Rhine, the musician from Bamberg suspected what would follow: an offer to become the Cologne Cathedral organist. His dream job – but in fact not his only job: Winfried Bönig also holds a doctorate in musicology, teaches as a professor at the Cologne College of Music, and is one of Germany’s best-known concert organists. Debuting in Berlin’s Philharmonic Hall, Winfried Bönig, together with brass players of the Berliner Philharmoniker, will present a festive pre-Christmas programme “à la française”.
Marcel Dupré was one of the central personalities of French organ music: into the 1960s, anyone who wanted to make something of him- or herself as an organist almost inevitably had to study with Dupré – as was the case for Gaston Litaize, born in 1909, whose ceremonial procession music for organ, three trumpets and three trombones begins the concert. The work is followed by two movements from Marcel Dupré’s expressive Symphonie Passion, which musically anticipate Christmas. In the highly virtuoso and very colourful “Handel Variations” by late Romantic composer Arno Landmann, Winfried Bönig will pull out all the stops and show what the organ in the Berliner Philharmonie can do. The concert will end with a composition by Charles-Marie Widor, who attempts to reconcile opera and the church with sweeping gestures in a heroically triumphant manner.