Highlights from the 2017 Beethovenfest in Bonn, Germany

dw.com
10/4/2017

The Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and its principal conductor Jakub Hrůša on the closing night

The Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and its principal conductor Jakub Hrůša on the closing night

The Mariinsky Theater Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra performed under the motto "Distant Love." After 55 concerts, the Beethovenfest Bonn comes to an end. 

There was no brash finale. The celebration of Beethoven came to an end with relatively quiet and unfamiliar sounds. Who knows the works "Poem de l'amour et de la mer" (Poem of Love and the Sea), or "La mort de Cléopatre" (The Death of Cleopatra)? Those in attendance on October 1 at the near sold-out World Conference Center (WCCB) at Bonn now do. They were treated to Ernest Chausson's subtly shimmering tones – which are stylistically located between Wagner and Debussy – and the slow death of the Egyptian queen as composer Hector Berlioz realized it. Also unusual was the presence of two vocal soloists rather than one: the American Betsy Horne and the Bulgarian Vesselina Kasarova.

Franz Schubert's "Great C Major" symphony was next. Raw, rhythmically thrilling and dominated by wind instruments, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and its principal conductor Jakub Hrůša showed that Schubert is about abysses – abysses of love, solitude and eternal wandering.