The upcoming 2018/2019 season is replete with works that highlight our season’s motto – the »New Man« – and with it, the two major events we will be commemorating in spring 2019. One hundred years ago, a school of art and design, the Bauhaus, was founded in Weimar that would revolutionise artistic production. One hundred years ago, our small town became the centre of German politics where the National Assembly was constituted. The world was in a state of upheaval following World War I and the turmoil of revolution. And the Bauhaus and the National Assembly were determined to fundamentally redefine social coexistence in a new age through artistic and political means.
The composers of that time were also searching for a ›new sound‹ which would overcome the restraints of the past and have an impact on the modern listener. But the musical avant-garde was no universal phenomenon that can be pinned to any single line of development. The composers came up with a variety of different solutions. Paul Hindemith, fascinated by Christian Morgenstern’s sound poetry, wanted to counter the brutal warmongering of the First World War with his »Lustige Sinfonietta«, while Richard Strauss waited until after the war to finally present the ›opera of all operas‹, his »Woman without a Shadow«, which swept audiences away into an enchanting realm of fairy tales. Franz Schreker probed the boundaries of harmonics but was still very much influenced by the late Romantic orchestral sound. Stravinsky focused on the physicality of ballet and composed ballet music which remains unparalleled in its earthly sensuality, despite provoking indignation from audiences at the time. And let us not forget Kurt Weill who combined highly diverse musical styles in his songs and created works for the stage which remain popular to this day. As you see, there is much to discover in the first half of the 20th century.
That is not to say that we have exhausted the repertoire of the ›Silver Age‹, the era during which Weimar embodied the musical avant-garde. I am especially looking forward to presenting two newly discovered works by our former Hofkapellmeister Franz Liszt. The first is an unfinished opera entitled »Sardanapolo«, discovered in the Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv and edited by Senior Lecturer David Trippett from Cambridge University. We will be opening the season with the world premiere of the first act. And since Franz Liszt loved commemorations himself, we asked the Liszt estate in Budapest to send us the manuscript of his orchestral work »100 Years Ago«, written in honour of Friedrich Schiller’s 100th anniversary.
As in past years, we are hosting a »Composer in Residence« to offer you the chance to experience contemporary music as you’ve never heard it before. We have commissioned the British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage to compose a new piece entitled »Testament« which will be presented for the very first time in our 4th Symphony Concert.
I look forward to a concert season full of festivities and intensive contact and exchange with you.
Your General Music Director,