Macht. Musik.

»MACHT. MUSIK.« Taking Beethoven’s political legacy as our point of departure, we are setting out to examine how composers and their works were either exploited or else marginalized for ideological reasons in the 20th century. We shall be hearing works by Beethoven composed under the influence of political events. These will be confronted, on the one hand, by compositions which were written in reaction to political currents, such as Hanns Eisler’s »Deutsche Symphonie«. On the other hand we shall be hearing music written in Theresienstadt by outlawed composers, and works by George Gershwin which were banned by the Nazis. As a work representative of the theme of this Beethovenfest, so to speak, simply follow the political career of Beethoven’s ninth symphony. It was composed as Beethoven’s avowal of the spirit of the Enlightenment, was misused as propaganda by the Third Reich, and became the freedom anthem during celebrations of German unification. That is why we are opening the festival with this work, played by the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen conducted by Paavo Järvi. I hope you are looking forward as much as I am to Kurt Masur, who has a special role as one of the pioneers of the peaceful revolution from 1989: with his Orchestre National de France he is going to conduct a complete cycle of Beethoven symphonies – a first for the Beethovenfest. We are looking forward to other high-ranking performers too, such as Hélène Grimaud, Annette Dasch, Daniel Hope, Martin Grubinger and András Schiff, Max Raabe and Die Prinzen. In addition we are playing host to top orchestras such as The New York Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel, the London Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Harding, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig under Riccardo Chailly and the Bamberger Symphoniker under Jonathan Nott. A programme with so many for us exclusively conceived concerts is only possible thanks to our numerous loyal partners and sponsors, and our receptive audiences! I would like to express my particular gratitude to you all!


Ihre Ilona Schmiel
Director of the Beethovenfest Bonn


Bonn, August 2008