In this smaller-scale festival we remember the musical repertoire of the 19th century, the most cherished music of our loyal festival audience. When I came to Bad Kissingen in 2016 the focus of the Kissinger Sommer were Brahms, Tchaikovsky and other late romanticist composers. Therefore it was my goal to guide the focus onto other things such as music by other composers which is not any less grand and important than that of the composers mentioned above but had not found its way to Bad Kissingen yet. This resulted in five festival programs with five mottos that each covered a different historical era: In 2017, the Romantic Revolution around 1830 (the year in which the professional health resort business in Bad Kissingen started), in 2018, the Departure into Modernity (featuring music of the early 20th century), in 2019, Nature painted in Sounds with an exemplary focus on 1762. The plan for 2020 was to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven, some remnants of this theme still remain during this summer. The proper finale for such a journey through musical history is the late 19th century, the time during which Otto von Bismarck conducted world politics from Bad Kissingen.
Thus the motto of the Kissinger Sommer 2021 is “Fin de Siècle – Remembering an Era”. From 1886 until 1912 price regent Luitpold Karl Joseph Wilhelm of Bavaria ruled in Munich. Not as a king but as the “Overseer of the Kingdom of Bavaria” and by refusing some of the privileges of a monarch. This humility was perhaps afirst sign of the coming of a new age of civilisation. A “Twilight of the Gods” of Europe's monarchy was starting.
The Regentenbau in Bad Kissingen was erected from 1910 to 1913, completed with a king's lodge. However, a few years after its inauguration (in the presence of prince regent Ludwig III.) there was no king that could take up residence there. In 1918, after World War I. the monarchy was abolished in Bavaria, the German Reich and Austria-Hungary. During the Kissinger Sommer 2021 we remember the prince regent's time with some of our concerts. Many great composers of the turn of the century composed some of their highlights in the cultural environment of Munich. Max Reger lived in Munich as a pianist organ player and composer during the first years of the 20th century. Richard Strauss, who was born in Munich, had his first successes there before he moved to Berlin in 1898. Gustav Mahler performed multiple times as a conductor in Munich. On September 12th 1910 he conducted the premiere of his 8th symphony, which was dubbed “Symphony of a Thousand” due to many people involved in its performance. It was a major event, a work that shattered any boundaries regarding length of the work and size of the cast. However, this could not have been possible without the spark of Mahler's creativity which was founded in song and folk music. We will highlight this side of Mahler in our production “Ich wand're in die Berge” in the Regentenbau.
Simon Bode and Igor Levit also concerned themselves with Mahler's song craft.
In Munich and other places, the Fin de Siècle was heavily influenced by the colossus of late romanticist music, Richard Wagner, who could create his revolutionary musical theatre thanks to the astute support of Ludwig II. At the Kissinger Sommer 2021 you will hear the works of Mahler, Reger, Busoni, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Sibelius, as well as some other works of the era such as Rimsky-Korsakov's famous musical poem “Scheherazade”.
As always we look beyond the scope of our motto. Remembrance is a theme in the programs of this festival and maybe even the next. Furthermore, should the restrictions set in place due to the pandemic become more lax our budget will allow us to add further concerts to our program.
Other ways of remembering the past can be found in the recent programs of current artists. When the “classical band” Spark works together with countertenor Valer Sabadus to combine typical Baroque arias with the music of Depeche Mode and Rammstein the result is sure to be a unique blend of different eras. When the Signum Saxophone Quartet and cellist Tanja Tetzlaff explore the “Bachianas” of Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos together, traces of Bach's spirit can be heard in the resulting compositions. Remembering the past is also essential for the coming project of the Kissinger Sommer, the Bad Kissingen MusicWorkshop. By combining traditional piano compositions with the new premieres, Axel Bauni shows us that the New cannot exist without the Old (which itself was once the New).
Thus the Kissinger Sommer opens the gates of remembrance through which you can experience different eras and attitudes of mind.
Dr. Tilman Schlömp
Director of the Kissinger Sommer
Concerts with the theme Fin de Siècle – Remembering an Era:
20.6.2021 Recital Lily and Mischa Maisky
25.6.2021 Romantic soaring flight
26.6.2021 „Ich wand’re in die Berge“
27.6.2021 Vienna Classics
30.6.2021 Closer to paradise
4.7.2021 BACHianas – Jazz-Lunch at the hotelgarden
4.7.2021 Turn of the Millenium
5.7.2021 Art Nouveau
7.7.2021 Dances as a Duet
18.7.2021 Final concert