Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin
The first phase of the Musikfest was marked by Monteverdi’s operas on the stage of the Philharmonic. Its opposite pole is symbolised by the great symphonies byBruckner, Brahms, Mahler and Schoenberg. The closing concert moves in the interface between symphony and (music) drama. Hector Berlioz, who was equally enthused by Beethoven and Shakespeare, referred to his composition on the British playwright’s most famous and consequential tragedy, “Romeo and Juliet” as a “Symphonie dramatique”. Large sections of Shakespeare’s play are captured by Berlioz in his music; the vocal parts stand out like a volcanic cone in a mountainous landscape.
The drama of Wagner’s “Valkyrie”, the second work in the tetralogy of the “Ring of the Nibelung”, culminates so powerfully in the last act that only symphonic music can do it justice – not symphonic in the sense of the classical style, but in the sense of the dynamic process that can unite even the sharpest contrasts and the widest variety of musical expression. The music drama, according to Wagner, succeeded the symphony after Beethoven’s Ninth. It also lent it new energy.