This year’s PENTECOST CONCERTS are intended to expand and continue the intention of „Literature and Music“, which has been started since its foundation, and to continue the range of original folk music, classical chamber music and choral symphonic compositions of occidental music. In addition to the cooperation with the „Mozartgemeinde Wien“, the Folk Music Institute of the Styrian Conservatory, and the „Musik-Mittelschule Weiz“, the cooperation with the Orchestra Association of the Society of Friends of Music Vienna with the production of the oratorio „The book with seven seals“ by Franz Schmidt is of dominant importance.

Dedicated to the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna to celebrate its 125th anniversary, composed in 1935-37, premiered in the Great Hall of the Vienna Music Society on 15 June 1938, this work can be described as the most important oratorio of the 20th century in the sense of the great models of the 18th and 19th centuries. The Revelation of St. John the Evangelist is a text that contains the greatest secrets and conveys meaning and answer only in the case of inner religious comprehensibility. The inspired music that Franz Schmidt wrote down in his last years, weakened by illness, replaces a verbal answer to the questions of the text. It creates the mystery in a great sound world, takes the musicians, singers and listeners into the uncanny show of the evangelist. Franz Schmidt has succeeded in leading the classical world of diatonic harmony through romantic sound connections, twelve-tone, abstract compositional techniques into a new world of sound, which in turn ends up in a concentration of chords rich in overtones and, as it were, in a soulful, monophonic Gregorian style. Thus we encounter the mystery of the becoming and passing of the cosmos in the sound world of music that develops over centuries.

In his oratorio, Franz Schmidt has also given the choir a demanding and versatile task. On the one hand he has the function of a narrator, but on the other hand he also represents acting persons or groups. The International Franz Schmidt Concert Choir Graz-Maribor was formed especially for the concerts with this work. It consists mainly of members of the Graz Concert Choir and the Maribor Concert Choir. The Graz Concert Choir was founded in 1971 with the intention of performing the great orchestral works of the choir from the late Baroque to the present day. This line has been maintained to this day. The Maribor Concert Choir was founded in 2018 with the intention of participating in concert projects of domestic and foreign ensembles. Carl Orff’s „Carmina Burana“ was performed together with the Graz Concert Choir at the Pentecost Concerts 2018. The concert choir Maribor as well as the Hugo-Wolf-Kammerchor are conducted by Aleš Marčič, who completed his musical education at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz.

This year’s PENTECOST CONCERTS will be accompanied by performances at the „Grazer Congress – Stefaniensaal“, the Opera House in Maribor, the Art House Weiz and the Great Hall of the Vienna Music Society.

Alois J. Hochstrasser