Famed Maestro Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts 7 concerts at his Styriarte Festival of Music in Austria.

April 21, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel News
Worldrenowned conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s artistic endeavors will come to a culmination when he conducts seven extraordinary concerts this summer at the ‘Styriarte Festival of Music’ in Graz, the capital of Steiermark (Styria), a Region in the South-Eastern part of Austria.

The first three concerts on June 22nd, 23rd and 24th will be Beethoven’s Mass in C major. This is a work written at times filled with storms, overshadowed by Napoleon’s wars, like the 5th Symphony. “Of my mass, I believe that I dealt with the text as it has only seldom been handled before.” The great depth of this work reflects one of the most important desires of the people of Europe in those times – their longing for hope and their urgent wish for peace. This concert is featuring Julia Kleiter (soprano), Elisabeth von Magnus (mezzo-soprano), Herbert Lippert (tenor), Geert Smits (baritone), the Arnold Schoenberg Choir and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

The fourth and fifth concert on June 30th and July 1st will be Haydn’s “The Seasons”. The English poet Thomson from the ‘Europeans of the Enlightenment’ was the Magna Carta of a new era. In his description of a beautiful new world, civic virtues such as being industrious, cheerful and godfearing, are most important. Being the son of a blue-collar worker, these rhymes left an impression on Haydn and he gave them free interpretation in his "Seasons“. Together with an all-star ensemble Harnoncourt angles Haydn’s rich colorful musical score formation to it’s peak. This concert is featuring Genia Kuehmeier (soprano), Ian Bostridge (tenor), Christian Gerhaher (baritone), the Arnold Schoenberg Choir and the Concentus Musicus Wien (Vienna).

The sixth and seventh concert on July 7th and 8th will be Schubert’s “Intende voci” and Beethoven’s “Christ at Mount Olives” - this is the turning point of our history from the point of view of Christianity: Jesus drinks from the chalice of affliction and starts to approach the Passion and Resurrection. In his oratorio of 1803, Beethoven focused on the events of that night in the “Gardens of Gethsemane”. Performed not as often as the Mass in C major, it is nonetheless one of his greatest influential pieces. It is featuring Laura Aikin (soprano), Herbert Lippert (tenor), Florian Boesch (baritone), the Arnold Schoenberg Choir and the Concentus Musicus Wien.

Tickets to these events range from Euros 10 to 110. Many other events are scheduled during the Styriarte festival, which will take place between June 22 and July 22, 2007.

Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s musical career spans almost 60 years and his career as a conductor of both orchestral works and opera comprehends Viennese Classicism, the Romantic repertoire and works from the 20th century. In 1953 he founded the Concentus Musicus Wien (Vienna) together with his wife Alice, a violinist, to provide an outlet for his increasingly intensive work with instruments of the Renaissance and baroque period’s musical tradition.

Founded in 1985, the Styriarte Festival of Music, under the direction of Harnoncourt, has built its reputation on attracting high-profile musicians, such as principal players from major orchestras, in addition to stars like violinist Riccardo Minasi and piano virtuoso Pierre-Laurent Aimard. Artists like Viennese Symphonics principal oboist, Paul Kaiser, return year after year to share their talents with the community and to relive the invigorating spirit that is found in the people and the beauty of Graz. Harnoncourt encourages the Festival to be a rediscovery of long-lost variations of our musical heritage and with this years motto “Wanted: Europe” the Styriarte 2007 sets out on a search for the abducted princess of a mythical past, while at the same time strives to explore the continent of Europe and its changing identity.

Harnoncourt shows the world with “his” Styriarte that music is opening horizons beyond borders, scrutinizes all prejudices and shows that Europe is not a frozen entity, but always inventing itself anew again: as vision, chance and hope.—www.austriatravel.ws