Wiener Philharmoniker

Christian Thielemann, conductor
Schumann / Bruckner

People walk in the snow up a hill crowned by baroque architecture.

Winter scene at the Gloriette in Schönbrunn Park in Vienna © allOver images / Alamy Stock photo

The Vienna Philharmonic visits Musikfest Berlin for the first time. The orchestra, which has a unique sound, will be conducted by Christian Thielemann in performing Robert Schumann’s “Spring Symphony” and Bruckner’s First Symphony to mark his bicentenary in 2024.

19:10, South Foyer
Work introduction

The fact that the Vienna Philharmonic sounds special has been proved empirically: in 2002 an experiment was conducted on 1,200 test subjects who were played off-the-shelf CD recordings of the Vienna, Berlin and New York Philharmonics – they included amateurs, orchestral musicians and top international conductors such as Zubin Mehta and Seiji Ozawa. The listeners clearly recognised the particular features of the “Viennese style” and its broad spectrum of tone colours. Because Viennese musicians did not adopt all the musical innovations in the second half of the 19th century that were intended to achieve a greater volume of sound and easier playability. Christian Thielemann, who has recorded a complete edition of Bruckner with the orchestra, is a regular on the podium with the Vienna Philharmonic, which now makes its first guest appearance at Musikfest Berlin. He has programmed the “Spring Symphony” by Robert Schumann, which Thielemann sees as part of the core Romantic repertoire. It is followed after the interval by Bruckner’s First, in which the composer departs from the canon of symphonic rules in order to let his imagination run free until the whole work literally comes apart at the seams. Bruckner’s pupil Rudolf Louis found the work “drenched with an unmatched vitality and creative power and full of the most brilliant ideas.” No wonder that the world premiere of Bruckner’s First was extremely successful in its final, 1891 version – performed, of course, by the Vienna Philharmonic under conductor Hans Richter.


Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856)
Symphony No. 1 in B-flat major, Op. 38 “Spring Symphony” (1841)

Anton Bruckner (1824 – 1896)
Symphony No. 1 in C minor “Vienna version” (1890/91)


Wiener Philharmoniker
Christian Thielemann 

A Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin event