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To Raiding! The 2009 Liszt Festival is starting!

A new era of "Lisztomania" begins on June 24. Two of the finest Liszt interpreters are opening the 2009 festival proceedings in honor of the great master. With Hungarian Rhapsodies. On a mighty Bösendorfer grand piano.

With his impulsive playing technique, the young Franz Liszt wrecked nearly every piano available to him. Upon the advice of several friends, he tried this on a Bösendorfer grand piano (1838) - which held up to his playing. At a single blow, the "Bösendorfer" became famous as a concert grand. Franz Liszt wrote enthusiastically, "The perfection of a Bösendorfer exceeds my most ideal expectations."

"Genius is the power to reveal God to the human soul" (quote by Franz Liszt).

"Genius is the power to reveal God to the human soul" (quote by Franz Liszt).

Even the emperor was an admirer of the great master pianist.

Even the emperor was an admirer of the great master pianist.

Appreciation and friendship

We are delighted that the opening concert of the new Liszt Festival will be played on an instrument of the piano manufacturer with which Franz Liszt had a special relationship. It was marked by great (mutual) appreciation and from it emerged a lifelong friendship between the artist and Ignaz and Ludwig Bösendorfer.

Johannes (left) and Eduard Kutrowatz: As pianists, at home on the world's concert stages (in Japan in this photo)...

Johannes (left) and Eduard Kutrowatz: As pianists, at home on the world's concert stages (in Japan in this photo)...

... and now also as artistic directors in Raiding.

... and now also as artistic directors in Raiding.

It is not least of all due to Liszt's and Bösendorfer's friendship that the two new artistic directors in Raiding, Eduard and Johannes Kutrowatz, have decided to play a Bösendorfer concert grand on the opening day of the 2009 festival - it is also because the richly colored Bösendorfer sound has accompanied their career over the years. Like their role model from Raiding, the two artistic directors and internationally established concert pianists appreciate and love the instruments from the Austrian piano factory, which is the only one that carries on the history of Viennese piano making, so rich in tradition. Many talk (or write) about Bösendorfer. Johannes and Eduard Kutrowatz love and play Bösendorfer... like Franz Liszt. Like many other famous pianists after him. Like thousands upon thousands of music lovers the world over.

Immersion and emotional enrichment

This year as well, the Liszt Festival will take place in two blocks - from June 24 through 28 and October 21 through 25. The program already bears the handwriting of the new artistic directors. In addition to a new program and new artists, visitors can look forward to eleven concerts for the first time this year.

In addition to 34 individual works by Liszt, concertgoers will hear music of Haydn, Brahms, Bruckner, Mendelssohn and Verdi, among others. "The program should give Liszt fans 'room to immerse themselves', as well as appeal to anyone seeking to get to know Liszt," Johannes Kutrowatz explains. And Eduard adds, "It is also important to us that visitors are emotionally enriched from the concerts. It is an enormous stroke of luck that such a 'pearl' as Liszt grew up in Raiding."

2009 Liszt Festival - (early) summer

The festival (part 1, (early) summer) will be opened on June 24 by the new artistic directors themselves, with Hungarian Rhapsodies Nos. 12 and 14 by Liszt. All 21 Hungarian Dances by Johannes Brahms will follow.

We are curious as to how the musical clash between Liszt's "music of the future" and the "traditional music" of Brahms will end in Raiding. (Incidentally, Brahms also loved playing on Bösendorfer pianos.) In any case, Johannes and Eduard Kutrowatz promise "a four-hand, dancing opening festival."

In addition to Franz Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor, one of the most important and technically demanding piano works of the Romantic era (1853) - it is considered a high point in the composer's output - visitors can look forward to a series of his early and late works during the first part of the festival.

Further information on the (early) summer program (June 24-28) can be found at: www.lisztfestival.at

The special model"Franz Liszt" by the Bösendorfer piano company

The special model"Franz Liszt" by the Bösendorfer piano company

2009 Liszt Festival - autumn

The second part of the festival will likewise be commenced by the Kutrowatz brothers at the piano, in Liszt's most famous symphonic poem Les Préludes. And likewise on a Bösendorfer. Visitors will also experience new sound worlds with György Kurtág's Bach transcriptions and Gerhard Krammer's composition "rose," which is dedicated to the violinist Alma Rose, who lost her life in Auschwitz. Oleg Maisenberg will close the festival with works of Liszt and Schubert.

Further information on the autumn program (October 21-25) can be found at: www.lisztfestival.at

Franz Liszt visits the house of his birth in Raiding, xylography 1873

Franz Liszt visits the house of his birth in Raiding, xylography 1873

(Photo rights: Ulrich Schwarz, Eduard Kutrowatz, Bösendorfer)