Leoš Janáček, Béla Bartók, Witold Lutosławski! These are the melodious names of three equally unique and influential composers from the geographic centre of Europe. There were many characteristics that divided them: their biographical data, their origins and language as well as – and naturally – their music. And yet much more unites them and their compositions than would at first appear. All three had razor sharp minds, developed their artistic talents independent of the predominant compository currents of the time, wrote music that was far too individual, and perhaps even too intelligent to establish any type of “schools”, yet had – and still have – an enormous charismatic effect on subsequent generations.
That internationally celebrated violinist Thomas Zehetmair and the Berliner Philharmoniker under the direction of American conductor Alan Gilbert have chosen to juxtapose works by Janáček, Bartók und Lutosławski in this concert is proof that the way music history of the first half of the 20th century is viewed has changed radically in the past decades. Once and for all, the days in which a furore could be caused by pitting Schönberg against Stravinsky are definitely over. Today, Classical Modernism awaits (re) discovery in its entire diversity – without philosophically disguised, excessive value placed on one’s own culture with deaf ears.