Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
“Faust may have been written but Goethe but it isn’t his monopoly that excludes everyone else. This Faust is humanity’s common property,” asserted the Austrian poet Nikolaus Lenau self-confidently in presenting his own interpretation of the old legend. Lenau’s epic-dramatic poem, unfortunately largely forgotten today, is markedly more rustic, burlesque and, at times, livelier than Goethe’s version. In the course of his career Franz Liszt, drew upon both Faust poems for compositions. In contrast with his Faust Symphony after Goethe, in which he reflects the three main characters Faust, Gretchen and Mephistopheles in three “character sketches”, his orientation in the Lenau setting is largely limited to two scenes. He was audibly inspired by the colourful text and depicts the situations vividly.
Although the viola repertoire of the Classical, Romantic and early modern periods is far from extensive, there is a considerable number of contemporary works for the instrument – thanks not least to Tabea Zimmermann. Composers have dedicated numerous works to this extraordinary artist. When Wolfgang Rihm sent her his viola concerto subtitled “Über die Linie [Over the Line] IV”, he wrote: “Well, here it is. Once again nothing Paganiniesque. But I hope, of course, something good. Internal monologue from beginning to end....Everything is just line, never scraped, always sung. I can’t shake off my old notion of a vocalized concerto, an ‘instrumental cantata’.” At musikfest berlin Tabea Zimmermann plays this instrumental song that Rihm dedicated to her, of which she gave the world premiere nearly a decade ago.
Camille Saint-Saëns, organist at the Madeleine in Paris as well as a composer, dedicated his “Organ” Symphony to Franz Liszt. This was more than a gesture of thanks to Liszt for making possible the premiere of Saint-Saëns’s opera Samson et Dalila at Weimar; it was also an act of obeisance to the composer of the famous B minor Sonata. Liszt’s great piano work made a lasting impression on the French composer’s conception of form. In his Third Symphony, unusual in its integration of piano and organ into the orchestral tapestry, Saint-Saëns shows himself to be a bold innovator in colourful harmonies and the formal principles he learned from Liszt. “I gave everything to it I was able to give,” wrote Saint-Saëns about his “Organ” Symphony. “What I have accomplished here, I will never achieve again.”
Franz Liszt [1811–1886]
Zwei Episoden aus Lenaus Faust [1860/61]
1. Der nächtliche Zug
2. Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke
Wolfgang Rihm [*1952]
Second Viola Concerto (»Über die Linie« IV) [2000/02]
Franz Liszt [1811–1886]
La Campanella in G sharp minor 
from Six Grandes Etudes de Paganini
adapted for solo organ by Cameron Carpenter
Camille Saint-Säens [1835–1921]
Symphony No. 3 in C minor op. 78 »Organ Symphony«