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25.5.05

A Night of Schubert on Black Mountain

What would I do with my summers if I had all the money in the world? Drag my family around the world going to summer music festivals, of course! And here's one that sounds interesting, the Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg, Austria, which was described in an article (Schubert parties in the Alps, May 24) by David Willey for BBC News:

In an Austrian village amid majestic Alpine scenery where distant cowbells are usually the only sound, the curtain has gone up on one of the world's most unusual classical music festivals. Five minutes before the start of each concert, two horn players stand outside the concert hall, built in the mountain chalet style, and play a short duet. This is the signal for those who have been strolling through the green meadows around the beamed concert hall - constructed entirely of wood from local forests - to take their seats. The duet was composed by Viennese maestro Franz Schubert - as is most of the music and particularly the songs, or lieder, played at the Schubertiade festival. Music lovers from more than 30 countries gather here in the village of Schwarzenberg each year between May and September for four cycles of concerts at the modern, acoustically perfect concert hall. [...]

For me, the chance to enjoy Schubert's incomparable music in the setting that inspired the composer on his walks in the Austrian countryside has been an experience I shall not easily forget. One morning, I watched mountain trout swimming in a nearby torrent. And the same evening, I listened to Schubert's song "Die Forelle" - describing that very scene.
English tenor Ian Bostridge sang in the opening concert this year, with composer Thomas Adès and the Belcea Quartet. Renowned Lieder singer Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who celebrates his 80th birthday this month, and pianist Alfred Brendel are also on the program. Although Schubert's music is predominant, there are other composers featured. Concerts continue through September 10.

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