The 2011 Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert

With Valery Gergiev and Benjamin Schmid

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Benjamin Schmid — Violinist

Vienna Philharmonic

Program notes

Every year, as the days grow longer, Austria gets ready for one of the classical calendar’s highlights: the Vienna Philharmonic’s Summer Night Concert. This event, inaugurated in 2004, brings the prestigious ensemble together with some of the world’s most illustrious soloists—in front of an audience that regularly numbers more than 100,000—in the gardens of Vienna’s world-famous Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In 2011, the celebrated Russian conductor Valery Gergiev led the Vienna Philharmonic's summer festivities in a program centered around works of great virtuosity, as evidenced straight away by the opening piece: Liszt's symphonic poem Les Préludes. As the evening continues, the excellent Austrian violinist Benjamin Schmid takes the stage to perform the Violin Concerto No. 1 by perhaps the most famous violin virtuoso in history, Niccolò Paganini (in Fritz Kreisler's arrangement), full of astonishing lyrical flourishes. Next up are an excerpt from Sibelius's evocative Kuolema and Mussorgsky's beloved Pictures at an Exhibition in their famed orchestration by Ravel.

Photo © Richard Schuster

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