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Best of IMFH 2018: The Playlist

From Giuseppe Verdi and Karlheinz Stockhausen to John Williams: we’ve put together some of the programme highlights in our festival playlist.

3rd Hamburg International Music Festival

The programme

»Utopia« is the motto of the 3rd Hamburg International Music Festival – a weighty term that the musicians in nearly 60 concerts approach from a wide variety of different angles. Our playlist offers a little taster of what you can expect.


Spotify Playlist

Best of 2018 International Music Festival

Distant Galaxies

Utopia – that means taking a look at other periods, past and future, at distant galaxies and new technologies. And, of course, the film soundtrack forms an integral part of the experience. One of the most famous film score worldwide is George Lucas's »Imperial March« from »Star Wars«. Lucas makes direct reference to the »Planets« Suite by Gustav Holst, or more specifically to the movement entitled »Mars«: the similarity between the two pieces is unmistakable.

Mars © Nasa on Unsplash

The American Kronos Quartet takes us on another voyage into space together with composer Terry Riley. In their project »Sun Rings«, they combine sounds from outer space, recorded by NASA on a space station, with music for string quartet, thus creating a unique cosmos of sound.

Pure Drama

If we had made a film in the 19th century, the commission for the soundtrack would probably have gone to Giuseppe Verdi. His musical depiction of the Last Judgement in the »Dies irae« of his Requiem is pure drama, and has been making audiences shiver with awe for some 150 years now.

Guiseppe Verdi

Utopia and Vision

Among contemporary composers, the biggest utopian was probably Karlheinz Stockhausen. His works were milestones in the development of compositional techniques and ideas. In addition to his major orchestral works, the Hamburg International Music Festival’s programme also features chamber music from Stockhausen’s pen. In his »Tierkreis« (Zodiac) cycle, which can be played on various instruments, each sign of the zodiac is assigned a characteristic sound.

Stockhausen / signs of the zodiac
Stockhausen / signs of the zodiac © www.karlheinzstockhausen.org

But isn't the most visionary and fundamental utopian idea of all time the dream of a just society and the peaceful coexistence of all humanity and all the peoples of the Earth? Countless composers have set out to find »peace on Earth«, not least Arnold Schönberg in his choral piece of the same name »Friede auf Erden«, where we can dream of »...a kingdom of peace here on Earth«.

Stockhausen at the 3rd Hamburg International Music Festival

The programme