The theme of this year's Beethovenfest is "Rossija," with the programming exploring relationships between the composer and his Russian contemporaries and successors. Tomorrow evening, for instance, will see an open-air concert with the Beethovenorchester Bonn conducted by its music director, Roman Kofman (born in Kiev), performing Beethoven and Shostakovich as well as Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death with bass Paata Burchuladze.
Other Russian composers whose concert music features in the 2006 Beethovenfest include Tchaikovsky, Taneyev, Scriabin, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Gubaidulina. There will also be two Russian operas on offer: Rimsky-Korsakov's Mozart i Salieri (based on the play by Pushkin) and, in its world premiere, Vladimir Tarnopolski's multimedia opera Beyond the Shade.
Russian artists who will perform at the festival include pianists Arcadi Volodos, Elena Bashkirova and Mikhail Pletnev, violinist Maxim Vengerov, the Russian National Orchestra, the Brodsky Quartet and the Moscow Art Trio.
The 2006 Beethovenfest is also celebrating the Mozart and Schumann anniversaries. In addition to plenty of Mozart chamber and orchestral music, there will be a staged period-instrument performance of Il r pastore. Schumann will be represented by Dichterliebe, Frauenliebe und -leben and at least half a dozen of his lesser-known song cycles, with singers including (among others) Juliane Banse, Christiane Oelze, Roman Trekel and Hanno M‹ller-Brachmann. In addition, pianist Holger Groschopp and the Hartog Quartet will perform a program of music performed by Robert and Clara Schumann on their concert tour of Russia in 1844.
Naturally, there will be plenty of Beethoven as well, including symphonies, the Piano Concertos and Violin Concerto, solo piano and chamber music and the Missa Solemnis.
Other orchestras scheduled to perform include the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig with Riccardo Chailly, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam with Jukka-Pekka Saraste, the Bamberg Symphony with Jonathan Nott, the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg with Robert HP Platz, the Munich Chamber Orchestra with Christoph Poppen, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen with Paavo J‹rvi. the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin with Anu Tali, and, in a special visit, the South African National Youth Orchestra.
A few of the other notable soloists and chamber groups on this year's Beethovenfest roster are violinists Lisa Batiashvili and Daniel Hope; cellists Heinrich Schiff and Truls Mêªrk; pianists Fazil Say, Ferhan & Ferzan ‹nder and Lilya Zilberstein; the Gewandhaus-Quartett and the Endellion String Quartet; Trio Jean Paul; the Art Percussion Ensemble; and the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic.
The 2006 Beethovenfest Bonn runs through October 1. Complete information is available at www.beethovenfest.de.