Emanuel Ax (piano) • conductor: Iván Fischer
Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in F minor
The Konzerthaus, a modern building of impressive architectural design completed in 2002 is well-suited to the traditionally rich cultural life of this town of over 500,000 in the Ruhr Valley. Its large hall seats slightly over 1,500 spectators, while the smaller one – which can be separated from the large auditorium through an innovative solution – has room for 900.
The demolition of an abandoned movie theatre and a shopping centre in 1999 cleared a space for the new Konzerthaus, the cornerstone of which was laid on 16 October 2000. The cornerstone contains a lucky penny found by the director of the time in the building of the Berlin Philharmonic, a manuscript of a work by composer Matthias Pintscher, a rhinoceros figurine, a conductor’s baton, a newspaper from that date, the score of Beethoven’s Fidelio and the Bible.
The furnishing of the interior began in September 2001. Specialised technical know-how and expertise was deployed in perfecting the hall’s acoustics, and in April 2002, it was ready. After the organ was installed, the concert hall was opened to the public in September and received an audience of 40,000 from the city and its vicinity. A glassy structure, the three-level concert hall was placed in the concrete building like a box on its side. As in most modern concert halls, it offers many solutions for the “tuning” of the hall itself, and its acoustics are much appreciated by performers.
The Festival Orchestra’s appearance here will begin with Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3, the manuscript of which was discovered by Mendelssohn. Pianist Emmanuel Ax will be playing a true classic: Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor – a popular work despite its serious and profound mood. In the closing work, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, the composer struggles with impending doom, but ultimately prescribes happiness as a panacea for all.
Its efforts to achieve the best acoustical effects possible have led to the idea of using the rhinoceros for the building’s logo: although a little-known fact, its small, mobile ears make it the animal with the best sense of hearing. In a short time, the rhinoceros became a symbol for the entire city. Today, the Konzerthaus is considered to be one of North Rhine-Westphalia’s most frequented and most used concert halls.