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musikfest berlin 08

4 – 21 September 2008

The musikfest berlin 08 opens the new Berlin concert season with 16 top orchestras of international musical life, numerous worldclass soloists including Christine Schäfer, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Matthias Goerne und Katarina Dalayman, and celebrated conductors including Mariss Jansons, Sir Simon Rattle, Peter Eötvös, Daniel Barenboim, Philippe Herreweghe and Christoph Eschenbach. Organised by the Berliner Festspiele in co-operation with the Berlin Philharmonic Foundation, a programme with over 40 compositions will be presented at the Philharmonic, its chamber music hall, the St. Johannes-Evangelist-Church, the Radialsystem V, and Tempelhof Airport: orchestral cult and masterworks, significant and rarely heard milestones and newly discovered as well as newly created compositions from the past and present: ecstasies monumental in space, time and sound, between heaven and earth, between abysmal ravines, soaring mountain masses and distant stars; musical levitations and ascensions, magical and mythical flights through heavens of this side and the other – from the Icarian Fall to the floating happiness of lovers.

The music of three composers forms the programmatic core of the musikfest berlin 08: Anton Bruckner, Olivier Messiaen and Karlheinz Stockhausen – all of them connected by a religious-musical spirituality of Catholic provenance, which has found form and expression in monumental orchestral works. This spiritual »triumvirate« will be presented in kaleidoscopically unfolded constellations with works by Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter, Peter Eötvös, Gérard Grisey, Helmut Lachenmann, Arvo Pärt, Astor Piazzolla, Francis Poulenc, Maurice Ravel, Wolfgang Rihm, Franz Schreker, Alexander Skrjabin, Igor Strawinsky, Richard Wagner and Alexander Zemlinsky.

Bruckner and Messiaen
Anton Brucker is represented in the programme by his third, fourth, seventh, eighth and ninth symphony, performed by orchestras and conductors, that have their own unique approach to these soaring orchestral masses. Thirteen events are dedicated to the music of Olivier Messiaen – whose 100th birthday would have been in 2008 – and form an orchestral portrait, tracing the genesis of his oeuvre from his early to his monumental late works. The symphonic meditations from the 1930s, and the Turangalîla Symphony – which refers to the Tristan Myth – are followed by compositions exploring the songs of feathered heavenly heralds, that sing of the colours of the celestial city and the stars and, finally, by the Éclairs sur l’Au-delà – trancendentally experienced and illuminating the afterlife.

musikfest berlin at Tempelhof Airport
By Karlheinz Stockhausen – who died last December, and would have celebrated his 80th birthday this year – the orchestral opus magnum Gruppen für drei Orchester will be performed. The dimensions of an ordinary concert stage are not sufficiant for this exceptional work. For the performance of Gruppen by the Berlin Philharmonic, under its chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle, Hangar 2 in Tempelhof Airport will be turned into the site of the two-day finale of musikfest berlin 08. In three events – on Saturday 20th of September (Tempelhof I) and Sunday 21st (Tempelhof II and III) – apart from Stockhausen’s Gruppen für drei Orchester, Olivier Messiaen’s spatially monumental composition Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum, with its temporarily monumental counterpart Des Canyons aux étoiles – performed by the Ensemble intercontemporain – will be presented.

Commencing on 16th of April, tickets may be purchased in advance by mail – and from the 25th of May onwards at the box offices of the Philharmonic, the Haus der Berliner Festspiele and all advance booking offices, as well as online.

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