Six great composers, six landmark symphonies, a top orchestra and its star
conductor Kent Nagano - these are the components of an extraordinary
classical-music television event. Shot in High Definition, it takes a bold
and innovative approach to the recording of classical music. Boom and
tracking shots, quick cuts, remote-controlled cameras - stylistic means
previously used chiefly for pop music recordings give the programs an
up-to-the-minute look and feel. A team of more than 30 specialists makes
sure that viewers enjoy a truly cinematic experience.
The programs also go new ways by featuring entertaining, historically
founded animated sequences illustrating episodes from the lives of the
composers. Backstage interviews with the musicians and excerpts from their
rehearsals let us share in the spirit of their music-making. Conductor Kent
Nagano also relates what is of special importance to him in each work, and
offers fascinating insights on the origin and context of the work in
question. The main element of each episode is the live recording of a
concert from the Berlin Philharmonie.
Kent Nagano is one of the most successful and high-profile conductors of
today. He has led all the major orchestras of New York, London, Berlin,
Vienna, Paris... In 2000 he was named artistic director of the Deutsches
Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. In fall 2006 he succeeded Zubin Mehta as
General Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera.
Bruckner considered this work as the artistic crowning point of his career.
He began working on it in 1884 in a mood of optimism and self-confidence
such as he had never known before and which was no doubt colored by the
triumph obtained by his Seventh Symphony. The influence of Beethoven's
Ninth Symphony clearly emerges in the soft string tremolo and the rhythm of
the principal theme in the opening bars of the work. Bruckner himself
regarded the Adagio of the Eighth as the greatest movement in any of his
symphonies. The work was first performed by the Vienna Philharmonic on
18 December 1892 under the direction of Hans Richter. Hugo Wolf, who
attended the concert, wrote: "This Symphony is the creation of a giant."