Visiting Orchestra

Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest / Bernard Haitink

Opening Concert

Past Dates

The works of Claude Debussy are a main focus of this year’s musikfest berlin. Debussy’s music displays a particularly sensual quality while rejecting all that is flat and conventional. Instead, mysterious and blazing tones hint at fleeting, intangible apparitions. Debussy found the inspiration for his compositions in nature, such as the impressions of clouds passing overhead or in the movement of the ocean, and in the distant past of an imaginary and elusive antique age. The fact that the essence of his work does not refer to a tangible subject corresponds to Debussy’s belief that music is “made for the unspeakable”. This artistic credo was coined by Debussy in a discussion concerning Richard Wagner. Debussy was rather ambivalent on the topic of Wagner’s work – he truly admired Wagner’s music while also energetically distancing himself from it. In the orchestra scores from Tristan and Parsifal, which Debussy held in particularly high regard, Wagner’s music develops a power and intensity from within which leaves all other theatrical compositions it its wake. After a long period of absence, the Concertgebouworkest has been a regular guest at the musikfest berlin since 2005. This year the Concertgebouworkest is led by Bernard Haitink, the long-time head conductor and present “conductor laureate” of this renowned ensemble.

Concert Programme

Richard Wagner [1813-1883]
Parsifal [1876-82]
Prelude and Karfreitagszauber

Claude Debussy [1862-1918]
Nocturnes – symphonic triptych
for orchestra and female choir [1897-99]

Claude Debussy
Six épigraphes antiques [1900/14]
in the version by Rudolf Escher [1975-77]

Richard Wagner
Tristan und Isolde [1856-59]
Prelude and Liebestod (orchestral version)


Ladies of the RIAS Kammerchor
James Wood coach

Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam
Bernard Haitink conductor