The 2009 Liszt Festival kicks off! A concert report.
How should I start? What are the right words? Perhaps that it was an evening like few others in life. Or that I now understand what Liszt meant when he said that music has the power to reveal God to the human soul?
Wednesday, June 24. The 2009 Liszt Festival kicks off: The genius Franz Liszt in his place of birth, Raiding, Austria. Admired and celebrated by the outstanding pianists Johannes and Eduard Kutrowatz. Two brothers, born in Rohrbach, just a stone's throw away from Raiding. Like their model and idol, rooted in the culture and history of this former borderland: formerly western Hungary, now Burgenland, Austria.
There's no doubt that they understand Franz Liszt and his notes. "For us as well, God reveals himself in music." And Eduard and Johannes play these notes delicately and powerfully. Slowly and presto. Explosively and reflectively. Yet always masterfully.
The new Liszt Center (left) and Franz Liszt's birth house
Eduard and Johannes Kutrowatz – the new artistic directors of the Liszt Festival in Raiding opened this year's festival in honor of the great master.
Kulturlandesrat Helmut Bieler (left) decided for Eduard and Johannes Kutrowatz as new artistic directors for the "liszt festival" and Landesrätin Michaela Resetar obviously agrees with this important step towards the great Liszt-Year 2011.
Appreciation and Friendship
A stone's throw from Raiding and Rohrbach is the former imperial city Wiener Neustadt. Here, Bösendorfer pianos have been built for 35 years - from the Viennese piano company that is the only remaining Austrian piano manufacturer to carry forth and cultivate a great legacy. During Liszt's lifetime there were over 150 piano makers in Vienna, yet Liszt's artistic heart held special affection for Bösendorfer. He loved and praised the special quality and the special sound of Bösendorfer pianos, which started capturing the hearts of the monarchy and the rest of the world in 1828. Heartfelt friendship arose from the mutual appreciation between the great artist and the Bösendorfer family.
The famous "Bösendorfer Corner" at the Liszt Centre in Raiding
Cultural land Burgenland
Back to yesterday, in the sold-out Franz Liszt concert hall (an audience of 600) in Raiding: Franz Liszt played by Johannes and Eduard Kutrowatz on Bösendorfer.
How should I report on it? What are the right words?
Perhaps that the Burgenland cultural authority – yesterday I sat up in the left balcony, row 11, and could see everything – knew both of the Hungarian Rhapsodies, Nos. 12 and 14 (version for piano four-hands), from start to finish (the surreptitious moving of his fingers and feet was a dead giveaway). Indeed, the whole first row of VIPs as far as I could tell knew Liszt's Hungarian music. And nearly all 21 of the Hungarian Dances by Johannes Brahms which were also on last evening's program to open the 2009 Liszt Festival.
Perhaps that the artists' four hands swept along the Bösendorfer keyboard with blind confidence. Each of the virtuosos allowed the other to exhibit his individual abilities. The sum of the musical collaboration was not two, but much more.
Or that the piano duo left the climax of the evening for the very end. The best known of Liszt's rhapsodies, No. 2 in C-sharp minor (transposed to D minor in this four-hand arrangement), was played as the final encore and drove the whole audience to its feet. From the city mayor to His Excellency the bishop. From Frau Landauer to president of parliament: everyone stood up at the end and applauded, applauded, applauded.
It was an evening like few in life.
High representatives of the Burgenland honour the pianists.
The Mayor of Raiding (left) and Mr. Mersich from "liszt festival" (right) with Eduard and Johannes Kutrowatz.
A concert report by Rupert Löschnauer
Further information on the 2009 Liszt Festival can be found at:
(Fotocredits: Franz Weber, Thomas Mersich, Ulrich Schwarz, Kutrowatz, Bösendorfer)