Saturday, 21 April 2012

Musikverein 2012-13 season announced

2012 means 200 years of the Musikverein, a milestone marked in the latter stages of this season and the first few months of the next in the Rolodex-raiding way that Intendant Thomas Angyan knows best. So no different from any other Musikverein season then, except that all the eggs do seem to have been put in the anniversary basket, leaving 2013 looking bereft of stars. Or so went some foyer Raunzen I heard at the MV last night.* (Odd for the Thielemann Publikum to complain about the absence of Dudamel and Lang Lang, but let us move on.) There are indeed many annual visitors we won’t be seeing in 2012-13, the biggest beasts among them Barenboim, Boulez, the Berlin Philharmonic, and any one of the Big Five (normally it’s at least two). Why could that be?

Well for one thing the Wiener Philharmoniker hasn’t announced its 2012-13 subscription series yet. I’m also picking up the vibe that a gracious Musikverein is allowing the Konzerthaus to shine in its 100th year (a pretty spectacular season which I will write about once I get round to the urgent business of cake sampling). But enough about what isn’t happening. Let us turn instead to the five nights apiece from Claudio Abbado and Mariss Jansons. Abbado comes with two programmes and two orchestras: in September the intriguing pairing of KV 453 (Pollini) and Bruckner 1 (Brosche/Vienna edition) with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra; in November Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn with the Orchestra Mozart. Jansons comes with the BRSO, the Concertgebouw and the Wiener Philharmoniker, offering five different programmes for each night and having been given ‘free rein’ in their assembly according to Angyan. I love the spin here; in reality Angyan gets the heavy hitters to come back year after year because he gives them all free rein, not that many of them choose (or dare) to challenge the Musikverein’s public. If the ever-inquiring Jansons weren’t conducting, I’d be inclined to sigh at the sight of the Eroica, Brahms 4, and Bruckner 7 – all done to death im Großen Saal. Non-standard fare, at least by house standards, looks interesting however: a programme of Haydn, Liszt and Bartók with the most conservative orchestra (Wiener, natürlich), and a Penderecki commission (concerto for violin and viola, to be played by Julian Rachlin, Janine Jansen and the BRSO). Jansons touches upon the rest of the season, as he has done this year, with Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Wiener Philharmoniker and Wiener Symphoniker concerts all led by Andris Nelsons, and three concerts from the Pittsburgh Symphony and Manfred Honeck.

Other high-profile visitors include Thielemann and the Sächsische Staatskapelle with Wagner and a new work by Henze, Gatti and the Orchestre National de France (Rossini, Ravel, Stravinsky), Rattle and the OAE (Mozart 39, 40, 41), the LPO and Rotterdam Philharmonic with YNS, Chailly and the Gewandhaus (Chaik 6, Mahler 5, and a new organ concerto by Thomas Daniel Schlee). The Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and Singverein under Tukan Soghiev will perform La damnation de Faust in February, and apparently Rolando Villazón is now singing Britten (Les illuminations, with Luisi and the Wiener Symphoniker).

Großer Saal recitals, with the exception of Oliver Latry’s welcome return (Lemare’s Liebestod transcription, brilliant), are limited to violinists and pianists: Julia Fischer, Julian Rachlin, Nikolaj Znaider, Leonidas Kavakos (three times, for the complete Beethoven sonatas with Emanuel Ax); Rudolf Buchbinder, Evgeny Kissin, András Schiff. Renaud and Gautier Capuçon get a cycle of their own with five Brahms Saal concerts; in the same place there are also some decent Liederabende to be heard, my must-sees being Finley/Drake in January and Goerne/Eschenbach in May (Winterreise – actually that one is in the Großen Saal). The Musikverein’s contemporary music group of choice, the Ensemble Kontrapunkte, has another cycle with some quirky choices and a smattering of current Austrian talent (Helmut Schmidinger, Roland Freisitzer, Thomas Pernes, Johannes Maria Staud), but you can hear similar (and more adventurous) programmes at the Alte Schmiede for free.

Anniversaries Angyan isn’t letting slip include the Skandalkonzert of 31st March 1913, which Cornelius Meister and the RSO Wien will recreate on, um, 5th April, and to mark the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde’s 1812 founding concert, Mozart’s arrangement of Handel’s oratorio Alexander’s Feast on 28th November (Harnoncourt, Concentus, Singverein). On 28th November 1812 it was performed at the Spanish Horseriding School with 590 musicians in front of a 5000-strong audience; Harnoncourt’s planned numbers are 400, reportedly.

The Wiener Symphoniker’s season, both at the Musikverein and in the Konzerthaus, is so pathetically timid I can’t be bothered to write about it. The RSO Wien’s, by contrast, may yet get its own post. There are many things I haven’t listed so do take a look at the Musikverein’s redesigned website, which is even more dazzlingly golden than the last version. The search function has been improved and is working faster than before (though the expanded search and booking is not entirely glitch-free), and they have also slipped in an archive going back to 1961.

*I wasn’t there for Thielemann, but had mistakenly pitched up half an hour early for Wolfgang Muthspiel’s drumfree. Good concert, though Vienna’s indy scene would come under the category of stuff I attend from time to time but don’t write about (your local go-to blog for this is the excellent Viennese Waltz).

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