Lucerne Festival Special

All weekends in July


Stingray Classica celebrates summer with a special program featuring two major classical music festivals. The first part will be dedicated to the Lucerne Festival, a world-renowned event that has been held three times a year in the Swiss city since 1938. The Lucerne Festival brings together resident orchestras and soloists alongside artists and international ensembles guests. The summer edition of the festival is undoubtedly the most popular of the three annual events, and its kick-off is given by the Lucerne Festival Orchestra since 2003.

This series presented on Stingray Classica has eight concerts, including four premieres. Enjoy two unprecedented performances of Beethoven's music performed by virtuoso pianists Alfred Brendel (Piano Concerto No. 3) and Maurizio Pollini (Piano Concerto No. 4), a gala concert recorded in 2004 featuring Renee's soloists Fleming and Violeta Urmana, and a grandiose version of Mahler's Fifth Symphony, directed by the late Claudio Abbado and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. This "Friends Orchestra" is composed of world-renowned soloists and musicians from the world's leading orchestras, including the Mahler Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

Saturday, July 7 at 21:00 | Pierre Boulez conducts Modern Classics 

Pierre Boulez (1925-2016) was undoubtedly one of the most important figures in modern music. In this performance by the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, Boulez displays his masterful understanding of 20th century music as he traces the revolutionary harmonic development of musical modernism in three key "modern classics": Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, “Prelude” (1859), Arnold Schönberg's Pelleas und Melisande (1903), and Alban Berg's Violin Concerto (1935). The Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra was founded through conductor Claudio Abbado's initiative in 1986. It consists of musicians under the age of 26 from all over Europe. The soloist in Berg's Violin Concerto is Akiko Suwanai, the youngest first-prize recipient (1990) in the history of Moscow's International Tchaikovsky Competition.

Sunday, July 8 at 21:00 | Lucerne Festival: Abbado conducts Mahler No. 4

Mezzo soprano Magdalena Kožená does not only make the heavenly joys resound in the final movement of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, earlier in the concert, she devotes herself to the seraphic beauty and intimate simplicity of Mahler’s Rückert Lieder. Practically all songs that Mahler composed prior to 1900 were based on texts from Des Knaben Wunderhorn, a collection of folk poems published by Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim. Since then, Mahler turned exclusively towards one single poet, the Franconian orientalist and translator Friedrich Rückert. Mahler acknowledged that the poems moved him so deeply that he sometimes felt he had written them himself. In the transcendent final Lied, Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen, he also quoted a phrase from the Adagio of his fourth symphony. Asked what it meant, he replied that it personifies himself.

Saturday, July 14 at 21:00 | Lucerne Festival 2004 - Gala Concert 

Conducted by Claudio Abbado, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra draws outstanding orchestral musicians and soloists such as Kolja Blacher, Natalia Gutman, Reinhold Friedrich, and Sabine Meyer. This live recording from the Concert de Gala 2004 includes the Vier letzte Lieder for soprano and orchestra by Richard Strauss, with world star Renée Fleming and a concerto performance of the second act of Richard Wagner's opera Tristan and Isolde featuring Violeta Urmana, Mihoko Fujimura, and René Pape.

Sunday, July 15 at 21:00 | Mahler - Symphony No. 5

With the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, a globally unique orchestra was formed, made sure of great moments and international headlines. "A conductor is back, an orchestra reborn" the New York Times wrote, "The miracle of Lucerne" praised the Berliner Tagesspiegel. In the summer of 2004, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra embarks on its second season. Once again, Claudio Abbado stands at the music stand of an exquisite orchestra drawing together outstanding orchestral musicians and soloists such as Kolja Blacher, Natalia Gutman, Reinhold Friedrich and Sabine Meyer. Live-recording including Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5.

Saturday, July 21 at 21:00 | Lucerne Festival 2004 - Pollini plays Beethoven 

Maurizio Pollini and the Lucerne Festival play under the baton of maestro Claudio Abbado. At the yearly Lucerne Festival in Switzerland they perform the beautiful Piano Concerto No 4 by Ludwig van Beethoven. This Piano Concerto was composed between 1805 and 1806 and Beethoven himself played the solo when the concerto premiered in December 1808. In this concert the solo is played by the Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini, well known for his interpretations of works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Chopin. This concert was recorded at the Lucerne Festival in 2004.

Sunday, July 22 at 14:00 | Andris Nelsons at Lucerne Festival 

Concert recording from the Lucerne Festival 2011 with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons. Richard Wagner: Overture to “Rienzi” - Richard Strauss: Dance of the Seven Veils from "Salome" - Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8 in C minor, Op. 65. Born in Riga in 1978, Andris Nelsons grew up in a musical family. In 2003 the young Nelsons was appointed Principal Conductor of the Latvian National Opera, holding that position until 2007. He is Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, succeeding James Levine. Nelsons has made his debut at numerous major opera houses and with the leading international orchestras.

Saturday, July 28 at 21:00 | Brendel and Abbado at Lucerne Festival

Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 - Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 in E major. Alfred Brendel (piano), Lucerne Festival Orchestra; conductor: Claudio Abbado. The Lucerne Festival is one of the world's biggest and most important music festivals. Its history began with the inaugural concert on 25 August 1938 conducted by Arturo Toscanini. In 2003, Claudio Abbado, who had been a regular guest at the festival since 1966, became director of the newly founded Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Until his death in January 2014 he inspired his "orchestra family" to play top-class performances. The Lucerne Festival Orchestra consists of musicians of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and of international soloists.

Sunday, 29 July at 21:00 | Lucerne Festival 2006

The three hammer blows in the finale of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 6 seem prophetic: Mahler lost his position at the Wiener Staatsoper one year after this work premiered in 1906, his daughter died, and the composer was diagnosed with a cardiac anomaly. A pervading dark atmosphere is not unfamiliar in Mahler's Symphonies, but to not have a glorious finale or peaceful acceptance was an absolute first for Mahler. The playful Mahler who referred to Austrian ländlers, birds, and cow bells, is nowhere to be found. In this light, it is no surprise that this work is known as ‘Tragic’, although Mahler himself retracted this title before publication.