The first concert of the IPO European Festival Tour in Stresa was a huge success. The program of Webern, Liszt and Tchaikovsky was greeted by a full-house of music lovers celebrating the Festival’s 50th anniversary.

The next morning the orchestra flew to Vienna to be guests at the Grafenegg Music Festival directed by pianist Rudolf Buchbinder. The festival takes place 60 km. from downtown Vienna in a fantastic summer setting: a 17th century castle including moat, stables, servants’ buildings, woods, farmland, gardens and even a natural goldfish pond. The elegant audience comes mostly from the city for events which this year included the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic and other great ensembles.

The modern concert stage is a replica of Vienna’s Musikverien concert hall…but under the stars! As in the Musikverien, the comfort of the musicians is not essential and players warmed-up or practiced in the woods surrounding the castle. Even though concert-dress wasn’t mandatory, seeing musicians playing in the natural beauty of the woods was an interesting contrast.

Our host, Rudolf Buchbinder, director of the festival, performed Brahms First Piano concerto. In the second half of the program which was broadcast on Austrian Radio, the orchestra performed Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony and 2 encores; “Andante Cantabile” from the first string quartet and “Waltz” from Swan Lake.

Of course, there was just enough time for one meal of Traditionelles Wiener Schnitzel and dessert of Apfelstrudel mit Vanilla-Sauce und Schlagobers!

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