Berliner Philharmoniker

Jakub Hrůša, conductor
Neuwirth (WP) | Bruckner

Musical calligram is what Olga Neuwirth has called her work “Keyframes for a Hippogriff”, presented for the first time by the Berliner Philharmoniker under the direction of Jakub Hrůša. A play of ambiguity rich in allusions, which also characterises the numerous versions of Bruckner’s symphonies.

Olga Neuwirth

Olga Neuwirth

© Harald Hoffmann

Past Dates

Innovation is more than just a prologue to convention. It opens up new perspectives. In Olga Neuwirth’s compositions they originate from and invariably point in several directions. Unambiguity is not in the nature of art. Neuwirth “creates a multisensorial web of references by incorporating not only musical elements, but also elements from daily life, literature, science and film. Her works are journeys in time and space. Sometimes they cite the past (she calls this ‘spaces of memory’) and mean the present. Using snippets of various genres, she creates a web that draws listeners into a maelstrom of sensations” – thanks to the immediate impact of her music.

Art is unpredictable, its unambiguity often merely a combination of desire and appearance. Take Anton Bruckner, for example: there are several versions, and not only of his Fourth Symphony. The question as to which version is the accepted one had long been met with a reference to the “final” version. But often, others aside from Bruckner were at work here. For this reason, among others, the approach of viewing the various versions as different takes on a single creative concept became more and more prevalent. In the Fourth Symphony, the commemorative spaces that Bruckner hints at in its subtitle “Romantic” are also explored differently in each case. It is not so much the work’s beginning with its summoning horn, as the approach to its finale that is different. The cheerful character of the first two versions recedes and darkens in the third, the grand final gesture stretches into the twilight.

Concert Programme

Olga Neuwirth (*1968)
Keyframes for a Hippogriff
Musical Calligrams in memoriam Hester Diamond
for Countertenor, Children’s Choir and Orchestra (2019)
Commissioned by the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker together with the New York Philharmonic and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
World premiere

Anton Bruckner (1824 – 1896)
Symphoniy No. 4 in E flat major WAB 104 (version 1878/1880)


Andrew Watts countertenor

Tölzer Knabenchor
Michael Hofstetter coach
Berliner Philharmoniker
Jakub Hrůša conductor

Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker events in cooperation with Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin