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Beethovenfest

Beethoven and more podcast #9: An ode to the 'master of masters'

In this symphony, Bruckner honors Richard Wagner, the "master of all masters," and at this concert the Beethovenfest honored a conductor for his "standard-setting interpretations."

Conductor Kent Nagano

Kent Nagano is currently General Music Director in Munich

Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)

Symphony No. 7 in E Major, 2nd movement: Adagio sehr feierlich und sehr langsam

Bavarian State Orchestra

Conductor: Kent Nagano

MP3 recorded in the Beethoven Hall, Bonn on September 12, 2010 by West German Radio, Cologne (WDR)

It wasn't until the premiere of his Seventh Symphony that Bruckner achieved wide-reaching recognition. The first performances in 1884 and 1885 were the breakthrough for the composer, who was painfully shy and often suffered from a lack of self-esteem.

We've chosen the Adagio movement for you. Connections to a composer's biography are relatively rare in symphonies, but this one is an exception: after Bruckner heard of the death of Richard Wagner in early 1883, he set the conclusion of the Adagio as a funeral ode for Wagner, whom he called his personal "master of all masters."

At this concert in the Beethoven Hall, American conductor Kent Nagano was honored with the Wilhelm Furtwaengler Prize. Furtwaengler is considered one of the 20th century's foremost conductors. Since 2008, the prize has been awarded at the Beethovenfest. With this, writes Ermano Sens-Grosholz, patron of the award, Nagano is recognized as an "exemplary artist with standard-setting musical achievements and for his engagement for social causes and projects, in particular with regard to the education of musical youth."

Author: Rick Fulker

Editor: Greg Wiser

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