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Concerts & Events

Dialogues Festival: Interlude

Music of the present day has always been a key element of the Dialogues music festival that has been an essential part of the Mozarteum Foundation’s concert calendar since it was launched in 2005. This year’s festival sees itself as an “interlude” or transition that picks up themes and reworks them, while also combining them with new themes. The 2018 festival takes place between 30 November and 2 December and features new music by several generations of composers representing different genres, institutions and places: works by established contemporary composers are heard alongside pieces by a much younger generation, while several female composers will form part of a balanced overview that treats them as the equals of their male counterparts. There will also be increased cooperation with other Salzburg institutions such as the Mozarteum University and the Leopold Mozart Institute, while music will also move out into the town and at the same time forge links with the world of literature. The festival will again be accompanied by a programme of carefully selected films. Artists, ensembles and orchestras such as œnm, NAMES, the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, the Salzburg Camerata, the Salzburg Bach Choir, Benedict Klöckner, Pekka Kuusisto, Emmanuel Tjeknavorian and the writer Franzobel will be appearing at a range of different venues.

Dialoge - Zwischenspiel

For Andreas Fladvad-Geier, the new artistic director of Dialogues, stylistic variety is an important criterion in drawing up the festival’s programme. This variety informs the opening concert in the Great Hall of the Mozarteum at 19:30 on 30 November, when the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra under the direction of Peter Tilling features the young violoncellist Benedict Klöckner. Headed “Aspects of Modernism” and showcasing recent compositions, this concert is intended to offer audiences a chance to put existing views and prejudices to the test, to transcend stylistic barriers and to see both the expected and the unexpected in a new light. Major names from an older generation rub shoulders with younger composers. Peter Eötvös remembers Berio, Peter Ruzicka recalls Wagner and Tristan und Isolde, and Wolfgang Rihm continues his metamorphoses. Dai Fukiura and Unsuk Chin continue to fly the flag of traditional modernism with lines that sound like gossamer webs brushed by the wind, depicting physical phenomena and cosmological scenarios with their filigree textures. Johannes Motschmann and the American composer Adam Schoenberg, conversely, demonstrate their modernity by means of very different aesthetic influences, resources and aims.

The festival begins with a panel discussion at 17:00 in the Solitär Hall of the Mozarteum University. Under the chairmanship of Hannes Eichmann, the speakers will be Peter Alward, the former intendant and managing director of the Salzburg Easter Festival, Elisabeth Gutjahr, the University’s vice-chancellor, Stephanie Haase, the director of Warner Classics in Germany, the arts journalist Karl Harb and Andreas Fladvad-Geier. The topic of discussion will be “Dealers of the Four Seasons: Who Forms Our Musical Taste?” The discussion will be complemented by musical contributions from NAMES, the acronym of the New Art and Music Ensemble Salzburg. This opening session in the Solitär Hall is also an indication of the fact that in future the Mozarteum Foundation will be working more closely with the Mozarteum University.

From 15:00 on 1 December 2018 there will be a change of venue, when Dialogues leaves the protected purlieu of the concert hall and gives little pop-up concerts in the centre of the town. Admission to these events is free. In Mozart’s day music could be enjoyed only on special occasions and in specific places, whereas we are now surrounded by music all round the clock. Indeed, we are often exposed to music whether we like it or not. This is why it is so important not only that music is performed but that we continue to ask composers what is music and how to turn background music into foreground music. “Change of Venue” presents new music at the station and in churches, cafés and museums, resulting in new and spontaneous encounters with contemporary music.

Engaging with contemporary music also means allowing very young voices to be heard. Three composers under thirty-five – Marco Döttlinger, Oscar Jockel and Josef Ramsauer – will be presenting their works in the Viennese Hall at 17:00 as part of the “Listen Twice” concert. One of these works is a world premiere. The presenter will once again by Hannes Eichmann.

The now traditional concert with œmn (österreichisches ensemble für neue musik) will this year take place under the title “Strong Women  – Independent Voices” and will be held in the Great Hall at 19:30. This concert is particularly close to Andreas Fladvad-Geier’s heart since “it features works by exclusively female composers, something which unfortunately is still a rarity at the beginning of the twenty-first century but also because this project is accompanied by school classes and presented by schoolgirls.” The works that will be performed on this occasion have been written by Manuela Kerer, Aleksandra Karastroyanova-Hermentin, Elena Mendoza, Clara Ianotta, Eva Reiter, Olga Neuwirth and Liza Lim.

The final day of the festival – prior to the performance of Mozart’s Requiem – is given over to music and literature. Students from the Leopold Mozart Institute will perform works by Henri Dutilleux, Lena Auerbach, Wolfgang Rihm, Sofia Gubaidulina, W. C. Handy and others at a Sunday “brunch concert” at 11:00 in the Viennese Hall, while Christoph Wieschke from the Salzburg Landestheater reads nonsense verse and Dada poems.

Dialogues also enters into a dialogue with its sister festival, the Mozart Week Festival, allowing themes to be taken up as if in a mirror and examined from a different perspective. The internationally acclaimed young violinist Emmanuel Tjeknavorian, who presents his own radio programme as “Klassik Tjek”, provides a link here. At the Mozart Week Festival he performs exclusively works by Mozart, but at his Dialogues recital at 15:00 in the Viennese Hall he plays works that have been written specially for him. Common to both concerts is the interplay and exchange between music and literature. At his Mozart Week recital, there will be readings from Mozart’s letters, whereas one of the most popular and controversial Austrian writers, Franzobel, will be reading from his own works at Emmanuel Tjeknavorian’s Dialogues concert.

The traditional finale of the Dialogues festival will be a performance of Mozart’s Requiem in the Great Hall of the Mozarteum at 18:00. The Salzburg Camerata and Salzburg Bach Choir will be conducted by Andrew Manze. The performance will be preceded by Bach’s Third Brandenburg Concerto in its original version, followed by a modern echo of it in the form of Anders Hillborg’s Bach Materia, a work that inhabits a playful intermediary world between Bach and jazz and between new music and the improvisatory skills of the piece’s dedicatee, the violinist Pekka Kuusisto. Bringing the concert to a brilliant end is Mozart’s Requiem K626, the final incomplete interlude on the road to death and immortality. The four soloists are Sarah Fox, Ingeborg Gillebo, Andrew Staples and Douglas Williams.