Rheingau Musik Festival
|Rheingau Musik Festival|
Schloss Johannisberg, Rheingau (2006), venue for concerts of sacred music in the Basilika, chamber music in the Fürst-von-Metternich-Saal (East wing), open air concerts in various courts
|Begins||end of June|
|Ends||end of August|
|Location(s)||Rheingau, many locations|
|Participants||159 events in 2013|
|Member||European Festivals Association|
The Rheingau Musik Festival (RMF) is an international summer music festival in Germany, founded in 1987. It is mostly for classical music, but includes other genres. Concerts take place at culturally important locations, such as Eberbach Abbey and Schloss Johannisberg, in the wine-growing Rheingau region between Wiesbaden and Lorch.
 Initiative and realisation
The festival was the initiative of Michael Herrmann, who has served as its Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer. Like the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival founded in 1986, the Rheingau festival was intended to add life to a region rich in musical heritage. The gothic church of Kiedrich houses the oldest playable organ in Germany and has its own "dialect" of Gregorian chant that dates back to 1333. In more recent times, the Rheingau has inspired composers such as Johannes Brahms, who composed his Symphony No. 3 in Wiesbaden and frequently stayed in Rüdesheim, and Richard Wagner, who worked on Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in Biebrich.
To test the festival idea, two concerts took place in Kloster Eberbach in the summer of 1987. In November 1987 the Rheingau Musik Festival e. V. was founded by Michael Herrmann, Tatiana von Metternich-Winneburg, Walter Fink, Michael Bolenius, Hans-Clemens Lucht, Ulrich Rosin and Claus Wisser. The association organized the festival from the first season in 1988 which included 19 concerts until 1992. It has continued to support the festival since. The RMF receives significant financial help from sponsors who choose to fund their own concerts.
The RMF has grown to be one of Germany's important festivals presenting around 140 events every summer with international orchestras, ensembles and soloists. It is a member of the European Festivals Association.
The concerts of the first season took place at Kloster Eberbach, in the hall and church of Schloss Johannisberg, at St. Martin in Lorch (part of the Rhine Gorge World Heritage Site), at the "Rheingau Cathedral" in Geisenheim, and in Wiesbaden at the Marktkirche and the Kurhaus.
Important locations have included Schloss Vollrads, the Abbey St. Hildegard in Eibingen, St. Valentinus in Kiedrich, the romanesque Basilika St. Aegidius of Mittelheim, St. Georg und Katharina in Wiesbaden-Frauenstein, the Parkhotel of the spa Schlangenbad, and the Alte Oper in Frankfurt am Main. Concerts have been staged in churches, castles and former presshouses (Kelterhalle). An annual "Sommerfest" is held at Schloss Johannisberg while other open air concerts have taken place in wineries and vineyards, on river boats, in the cloisters of Eberbach, the courts of Vollrads and the Kurpark Wiesbaden.
Most events are dedicated to classical music, but cabaret, jazz, readings, musical cruises, children's concerts, wine tastings or culinary events with music add to a diverse program.
 Opening concert
The Rheingau Musik Festival is traditionally opened in Eberbach Abbey by a concert of the hr-Sinfonieorchester, broadcast live. A cycle of the symphonies of Gustav Mahler, conducted by Paavo Järvi, continued in 2011 with the Fifth Symphony, programmed with Alban Berg's Sieben frühe Lieder, sung by Elena Garanca.
Every year, composers' anniversaries are celebrated. In 2009, six concerts were given each to music by Handel, including Israel in Egypt with the Monteverdi Choir under John Eliot Gardiner; by Haydn, including The Creation conducted by Enoch zu Guttenberg; and by Mendelssohn, including Elijah with the Collegium Vocale Gent under Philippe Herreweghe. In 2010, Robert Schumann and Frederic Chopin were celebrated in 16 concerts, such as Das Paradies und die Peri and piano music of Chopin with Daniel Barenboim. Seven concerts were devoted to Mahler and Hugo Wolf, such as Spanisches Liederbuch. Christian Gerhaher and Gerold Huber performed Mahler's Sieben Lieder aus letzter Zeit (Seven Songs of Latter Days) and songs from Das Lied von der Erde. In 2011 they performed the composer's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Des Knaben Wunderhorn and Kindertotenlieder.
 Treffpunkt Jugend
Soloists still in their teens are presented at the regular "Treffpunkt Jugend" (meeting point youth). They play in two Marathon concerts chamber music and concertos with orchestra.
 Work cycles
Some performances are presented over several years, such as the piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven by Rudolf Buchbinder. From 2003 to 2011, Eliahu Inbal conducted a series of the complete symphonies of Bruckner at Eberbach Abbey with the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, concluding with the unfinished Ninth Symphony.
Every year on 15 August the Assumption of Mary is celebrated by a Marienvesper (Vespers for the Virgin Mary), in 2010 Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine was performed to mark the 400th anniversary of the work, with the RIAS Kammerchor and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, conducted by Hans-Christoph Rademann. In 2011 the ensemble Concerto Romano, conducted by Alessandro Quarta, performed a combination of works by composers from Rome, Vincenzo Ugolini (Laudate pueri), Paolo Tarditi (c.1580–1661, Lauda Jerusalem), Domenico Massenzio (d.1650, Ave maris stella), and in particular Lorenzo Ratti (c.1589–1630).
 Organ concert
In 2010 a new series started, presenting artists before their concerts in a separate Rendezvous: Christoph Eschenbach, the percussionist Martin Grubinger (de) and Menahem Pressler. The guests in 2011 were Andreas Scholl and Christian Gerhaher.
 Portraits of living composers
A special feature of the RMF is the annual Komponistenporträt, the presentation of a living composer in talk and music. It was initiated by Walter Fink and has been sponsored by him. From the beginning in 1990 the core of this portrait has been the invitation of a composer for an interview with chamber music. The modern ESWE Atrium was a fitting venue, but since a larger audience got interested the talks were moved to Schloss Johannisberg. In later years more concerts were added, sometimes in different locations, sometimes showing the works of the featured composer in relation to other music, concentrating on large scale works since 2005. Some composers have played or conducted themselves.
- 1990 György Ligeti (in absentia)
- 1991 Mauricio Kagel
- 1992 Volker David Kirchner
- 1993 –
- 1994 Wilhelm Killmayer
- 1995 Wolfgang Rihm
- 1996 Dieter Schnebel
- 1997 Aribert Reimann
- 1998 Helmut Lachenmann
- 1999 Karlheinz Stockhausen
- 2000 Hans Werner Henze (in absentia)
- 2001 Krzysztof Penderecki
- 2002 Steve Reich
- 2003 Sofia Gubaidulina
- 2004 György Kurtág
- 2005 Arvo Pärt
- 2006 Henri Dutilleux
- 2007 Heinz Holliger
- 2008 Toshio Hosokawa
- 2009 Rodion Shchedrin
- 2010 Kaija Saariaho
- 2011 Hans Zender
- 2012 Péter Eötvös
- 2013 Fazıl Say
 Closing choral concert
The festival usually concludes with a choral concert in Eberbach Abbey, including rarely performed works. Frieder Bernius conducted in 2005 Penderecki's Polish Requiem, Helmuth Rilling conducted Messa per Rossini in 2001 and Messiah of both Sven-David Sandström and Handel in 2009.
Artists have included Anne-Sophie Mutter, Alfred Brendel, Mstislav Rostropovitch, the Alban Berg Quartet, Zubin Mehta, and Riccardo Muti. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau has appeared as a recitator, and Giora Feidman and Bobby McFerrin included their audience in their performance. In 2001, Dave Brubeck and his quartet appeared with the Jacques Loussier Trio. Chick Corea visited in 2009 and jammed with Roy Haynes, whose band had opened the concert. Other artists of 2009 included Colin Davis, Ludwig Güttler, Martha Argerich, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Anne Sofie von Otter and Olga Scheps. Lorin Maazel conducted the Vienna Philharmonic in Bruckner's Symphony No. 3 and Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps.
In 2011, the Thomanerchor sang a concert of mostly motets, including Bach's Jesu meine Freude in Eberbach Abbey, part of the choir's tour in its 800th year. Andreas Scholl, born in the Rheingau, made his debut at the festival in three events, an interview, a trip (Rheingaureise) to three churches with different concert programs, and an opera recital with his sister Elisabeth in Eberbach Abbey. The Lautten Compagney performed in concert Handel's opera Rinaldo, 300 years after its premiere. The ensemble Le concert spirituel, conducted by Niquet Hervé, performed music for up to 40 voices by Alessandro Striggio, together with music of Orazio Benevoli, Francesco Corteccia, Stefano Fabbri and Claudio Monteverdi. Other artists of 2011 included Freddy Cole, Yo-Yo Ma, Mitsuko Uchida, Waltraud Meier, Sabine Meyer, Heinrich Schiff, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Arabella Steinbacher, Daniel Müller-Schott, Xavier de Maistre, Omara Portuondo, Dianne Reeves, Nils Landgren, The King’s Singers, the Münchner Philharmoniker with Olli Mustonen and Herbert Blomstedt, and the Windsbacher Knabenchor, among others.
 25 years in 2012
On 17 June 2012, the 25th season of the festival was celebrated at the Kurhaus, Wiesbaden, with speeches by Volker Bouffier, Roland Koch and Enoch zu Guttenberg. A concert was played by the hr-Sinfonieorchester and violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann, conducted by Paavo Järvi.
The 25th season of the festival is celebrated by concerts of "Wegbegleiter" ("Companions along the way"), artists who have appeared regularly from the beginning, such as the Virtuosi Saxoniae, conducted by Ludwig Güttler, the Kammerchor Stuttgart, conducted by Frieder Bernius who had performed the very first concert of the festival, the piano duo Anthony & Joseph Paratore, the boys choir Windsbacher Knabenchor, percussionist Babette Haag (de), pianists Ewa Kupiec (de), Gerhard Oppitz, Justus Frantz, Tzimon Barto (de), Christoph Eschenbach and Oleg Maisenberg, actor Walter Renneisen, the Gächinger Kantorei and Bach-Collegium Stuttgart with Helmuth Rilling, and Enoch zu Guttenberg with his ensembles.
Other themes of the anniversary season are "Festmusiken" (Festive Music), "Geigenreigen" (Violin Circle) and "Orgeldimensionen" (Organ Dimensions). The Marienvesper was a sequence of works by Alessandro Melani, performed by Das kleine Konzert and the Rheinische Kantorei, conducted by Hermann Max, with soloists Veronika Winter (de), Franz Vitzthum, Hans Jörg Mammel (de) and Markus Flaig, among others. The music was contrasted by Monteverdi's Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, with James Gilchrist.
 Rheingau Musikpreis
In 1994 the festival initiated the Rheingau Musikpreis that has been awarded annually for musical achievements, to
- 1994 Volker David Kirchner, composer
- 1995 Alexander L. Ringer, musicologist
- 1996 Gidon Kremer, violinist
- 1997 ensemble recherche, chamber ensemble for contemporary music
- 1998 Toshio Hosokawa, composer
- 1999 Tabea Zimmermann, viola player
- 2000 Helmuth Rilling, chorale conductor
- 2001 Artemis Quartett, string quartet
- 2002 Michael Quast, actor, cabarettist, comedian
- 2003 Stefan-Peter Greiner, violin maker
- 2004 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Musikphysiologie und Musikermedizin, Society for music in medicine
- 2005 Niki Reiser, composer of film music
- 2006 Hugh Wolff, conductor
- 2007 Windsbacher Knabenchor, boys choir
- 2008 Heinz Holliger, oboist and composer
- 2009 Christian Gerhaher, baritone
- 2010 Taschenoper Lübeck
- 2011 Bidla Buh, musical comedians
- 2012 Lautten Compagney, ensemble
 Broadcast and recordings
- Beethoven: Sonate f-moll, Schumann: Kreisleriana, Rachmaninoff: Prèludes et Etudes, Andreas Haefliger, 1994
- Canzoni & Concerti of Girolamo Frescobaldi, Claudio Monteverdi, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel – Guillemette Laurens, Il Giardino Armonico, 1995
- Tschaikovsky: Manfred Symphony, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Yuri Temirkanov, live in Kurhaus Wiesbaden, 1997
- Dvořák: Biblical Songs op. 99, New World Symphony – Liliana Bizineche-Eisinger, Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester, conductor: Gerd Albrecht, live in Kurhaus Wiesbaden, 1997
- Haydn: The Seasons, Anna Korondi, Markus Schäfer, Dietrich Henschel, Chorgemeinschaft Neubeuern; Orchester der KlangVerwaltung München, Enoch zu Guttenberg, Eberbach Abbey, 30 July 1998
- Charles Gounod: Mors et Vita, Barbara Frittoli, Lidia Tirendi, Zoran Todorovich, Davide Damiani, Budapest Radio Choir, hr-Sinfonieorchester, Marcello Viotti, 4 July 1999, Eberbach Abbey
- Carl Orff Carmina Burana – Annette Dasch, Gert Henning-Jensen, Zeljko Lucic, Orfeón Donostiarra, hr-Sinfonieorchester, conductor: Hugh Wolff, live in Eberbach Abbey, 2002
- Mahler: Symphony No. 2, Brigitte Geller, Iris Vermillion, Festival Chor und Orchester Stuttgart, Helmuth Rilling, 30 August 2003, Eberbach Abbey
- Handel: Messiah, Anna Korondi, Annette Markert, Werner Güra, Sebastian Noack, Cappella Istropolitana, Choir of the Bamberger Symphony, Rolf Beck, Eberbach Abbey, 21 August 2004
- Mozart: Great Mass in C minor, Version of Robert D. Levin, Diana Damrau, Juliane Banse, Lothar Odinius, Markus Marquardt, Gächinger Kantorei, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Helmuth Rilling, 2006
- Mahler: Symphony No. 3, Waltraud Meier, Limburger Domsingknaben, MDR Rundfunkchor Leipzig, hr-Sinfonieorchester, Paavo Järvi, Eberbach Abbey, 23 June 2007
- Unergründliches Geheimnis (Enigmatic Secret), Sacred choral music of Brahms, Bruckner, Mendelssohn and Reger, Windsbacher Knabenchor, Marktkirche Wiesbaden, 18 July 2008
- Rheingau Musik Festival 2009, Best of Vol. III, Baiba Skride, Nikolaj Znaider, Alfredo Perl, Xavier de Maistre, Christian Gerhaher, Windsbacher Knabenchor, 2009
- "Rheingau Musik Festival". City of Wiesbaden. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- "Vor 20 Jahren wurde Rheingau-Musik-Festival gegründet" (in German). Blasmusik. 4 December 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
- "Rheingau Musik Festival". European Festivals Association. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- "RMF History". Rheingau Musik Festival. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- Zibulski, Axel (18 June 2012). "Festakt zu 25 Jahren Rheingau Musik Festival im Kurhaus Wiesbaden" (in German). Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- "Ein Festival feiert 25. Geburtstag" (in German). kulturportal-hessen.de. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- Festival Stages on the RMF website, map, pictures, descriptions
- Zibulski, Axel (27 June 2011). "Paavo Järvi eröffnet mit Mahler Rheingau Musik Festival in Kloster Eberbach" (in German). Wiesbadener Kurier. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
- Ackermann, Klaus (27 June 2011). "Magische Momente" (in German). op-online.de. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
- Zibulski, Axel (23 July 2011). "Ein „Star für Kenner“ / RMF I Der Bariton Christian Gerhaher im Gespräch und bei einem Liederabend" (in German). Wiesbadener Kurier. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- Johnston, Rosie (22 February 2008). "Bruckner-Zyklus endet magisch". op-online.de. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
- "Maria fährt zum Himmel / Zur "Römischen Marienvesper" gastierte das italienische Ensemble "Concerto Romano" beim Rheingau-Musik-Festival im Kloster Eberbach.". Frankfurter Neue Presse. 17 August 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
- Zibulski, Axel (19 July 2011). "Musikalischer Klang mit Idee" (in German). Wiesbadener Kurier. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
- "ESWE Atrium, Wiesbaden". Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- "Polnisches Requiem / Performances". Schott. 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
- "Rheingau Musik Festival 2001 / Viva Verdi: 30 Jun – 2 Aug". European Festivals Association. 2001. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- "28./29.08.2009 Eberbach / Festivalensemble: Messiah (Sandström & Händel)". Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart. 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- "Jazz Meets Klassik im Rheingau" (in German). Jazz-Zeitung. 2001. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- "Virtuoses aus der Wundertüte" (in German). Wiesbadener Tagblatt. 6 July 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- "Doppelter "Messias" zum Abschluss (Double Messiah as a conclusion)". Hessischer Rundfunk. 30 August 2009.
- Steiner-Rinneberg, Britta (22 August 2011). "Lautten Compagney Berlin brilliert mit Händels Frühwerk „Rinaldo“" (in German). rmt-magazin.de. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- "Rheingau Musikfestival / Vierzigstimmige Klangkathedralen mit Le concert spirituel" (in German). Deutschlandfunk. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
- Wolff, Jan-Geert (25 August 2011). "Prachtvolle Klangkathedralen" (in German). Hessischer Rundfunk. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
- "Klassikstars in der Riesling-Zone" (in German). Hessischer Rundfunk. 27 January 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
- "Companions along the way". Rheingau Musik Festival. 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- Schickhaus, Stefan (27 January 2012). "Wiederhören mit "Wegbegleitern" beim 25. Rheingau Musik Festival" (in German). Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- "Dirigent Herman Marx überzeugt auf Kloster Eberbach mit seiner Marienvesper" (in German). Allgemeine Zeitung. 17 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- "Christian Gerhaher awarded Rheingau Musikpreis 2009" (in German). European Festivals Association. 6 October 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
- "Rheingau Musik Festival CDs und DVD" (in German). Rheingau Musik Festival. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
- Rheingau Musik Festival website
- Entries for Rheingau Musik Festival on WorldCat, recordings, books and articles