Since August 2016, the Koninklijk Concertgebouw Orkest Amsterdam has been gradually touring all 28 EU countries. Its guest concerts are always opened by a youth orchestra from the respective country. In Germany, it will play the overtures to the Musikfest programme Side by Side with the German National Youth Orchestra. Two topics determine the contrasting poles of this year’s festival programme: music by Monteverdi and his contemporaries, and the great symphonies from the turn of the nineteenth century. The leading orchestra from Amsterdam, a regular guest at the Musikfest, brings these two poles together. Wolfgang Rihm composed his orchestral piece IN-SCHRIFT for a performance in the San Marco Basilica in Venice, where Monteverdi reigned over the music scene from 1613 until his death. Rihm did not simply want to adopt the distribution of several choirs in the room – a signature of music at San Marco’s – but stipulated instead that “all spatial arrangements should be described in the music.” Wolfgang Schreiber characterised IN-SCHRIFT as a “poem of lyrical yet wild beauty with unfathomable depth” – symphonic music, whose origins lay in sacred music. Bruckner also took up a spiritual context for his unfinished Ninth Symphony. In its last complete, long slow movement, disaster and rapture come unusually close to each other. This is Christian spirituality in concentrated form, without words; the Day of Judgement and heavenly beauty are given an expression par excellence in musical, worldly language.