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Just in: Vienna Philharmonic will open World War One remembrance …. in Sarajevo

It was the shot that shocked the world. On June 28, 1914, the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz-Ferdinand in Sarajevo set in motion the diplomatic confrontations that led to the outbreak of the greatest war the world had ever seen.

One hundred years on, the Vienna Philharmonic, representing old Austria, will perform with the opera chorus of the Sarajevo National Theatre near the site of the fateful event. Franz Welser-Möst will conduct and the event will be broadcast live in France and Germany. No repertoire is specified in the press release; expect Beethoven.


The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) will join the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the City of Sarajevo and public TV channels of Bosnia-Herzegovina, France and Germany in commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of World War One with a unique concert in Sarajevo in June 2014.
The performance, involving the Opera Choir of the National Theatre of Sarajevo, will take place on Saturday 28 June 2014, exactly 100 years after the assassination of Archduke Franz-Ferdinand von Habsburg-Este.The programme will feature composers from Austria, Germany and France and will take place in the Vijećnica, the old Bosnian-Herzegovinian National and University Library and former Town Hall currently under renovation. The concert will be relayed on video screens outside the building.

BHRT, ZDF and France Télévisions will co-produce a live TV programme from inside the Vijećnica, with the EBU transmitting the signal live to TV and radio channels worldwide for live or deferred broadcast.

The concert, led by renowned conductor Franz Welser-Möst, offers the people of Sarajevo and a worldwide audience a live tribute to peace and international friendship.

It not only commemorates a significant moment in Europe’s history, it also marks the birth of a new Europe and a new century. Memories of the past will be honoured by hopes for a peaceful future for a reunited continent.

In the lead-up to the centenary, the EBU is leading a collaborative push among Members to create a rich portfolio of thematic co-productions across TV and radio platforms. The concert is one of several events being coordinated.

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  1. Rosalind says:

    So, with the BBC being a member of the EBU, and of course the UK having sacrificed so many to this war, are we going to see this concert in the UK any time soon?? Probably only a radio broadcast, if that, I guess. Any info – Norman?

  2. “it also marks the birth of a new Europe and a new century. Memories of the past will be honoured by hopes for a peaceful future for a reunited continent.”

    Err, the continent wasn’t united before WW1 , and never has been, so how can it be “reunited” in the future ? EBU Europhiles at work perhaps ?

  3. So, having played the Beethoven Ninth at the site of the Mauthausen concentration, the orchestra with one of Europe’s unseemlier pasts is off to Sarajevo to perform a work by Beethoven that features as chorus. Hmmmmm. Isn’t the use of the Beethoven Ninth as a all-purpose disinfectant getting a little old? Reopening Bayreuth and need to clean up the stench of the Third Reich? Play the Ninth! Too many politicians with Brown pasts in the Austrian government? Trott out to Mauthausen and play the Ninth! While it would be too much to ask the VPO to work our their issues on their home turf, can’t we give poor Beethoven a rest. O Brothers, not these sounds! indeed.

  4. Srdjan Majdov says:

    If the Viennese musicians really want to offer their ” tribute to peace and international friendship” on this momentous occasion they should include the music of Bosnian composers in their programme. Some work of Oskar Danon, for example. He was an internationally known composer-conductor who recently died in Belgrade (born into a Bosnian-Jewish family in Sarajevo a year before the Attentat). Playing a work by any South Slavic composer would be a truly friendly gesture and a good example of good politics. It would also send a signal to the locals of the importance of high culture. Otherwise, the event risks to be seen as a yet another opportunity to exercise old imperial cultural politics.

  5. Michael Hurshell says:

    In search of a south slavic born composer and also a toe tapper? Try Suppé (born in Split, so no not Bosnia but fairly close by). In any case, I feel the attacks on the past of the VPO are wearing a bit thin. The musicians belong to a different generation. Austria does indeed have many dark chapters in its history, many unresolved issues etc. – but why make the VPO the principle target? Beethoven 9, I agree, has become a rather overused work, at events purporting to be “political.” But the advantage is, it can be played without much rehearsal… Danon would be interesting, but somehow I don’t think his Symphonic Scherzo is in the VPO repertoire… or Franz Welser Möst’s. Hm, or how about a Serbian work: Dve simfonijske slike by Dušan Radić… I’d guess Beethoven will still be the one. But – “old imperial cultural politics” – I’m not sure what is being expressed. Why doesn’t Bosnia send its own orchestra to play local works? The irony, of course, is that the assassination of the Archduke by Princip was the wrong act in any case; Franz Ferdinand wanted to give all the Slavic peoples of the Empire their rights and representation, etc. Very sad…

    • With the lowest ratio of women in the world, and with its racial ideologies still manifestly apparent, it is difficult to overlook the ironic presence of the VPO at events celebrating peace and justice. It’s the orchestra’s bigotry that has long since worn thin.

      • Graf Nugent says:

        …yawn…The record’s stuck…the record’s stuck…the record’s stuck…the rec

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