A song competition for Görlitz
The "First International Lied-Competition Bolko von Hochberg" will be established in the European city in spring. The Edition 2021 is dedicated to the topic "Hellas".
For many of us, the year 2021 is associated with the hopes for renewal in all areas of our life. Such a renewal or rebirth, often called a “renaissance”, is a cultural event that has appeared several times in history, especially in times of upheaval, when something in life was clearly outdated and new energy (like in spring) seemed necessary. In the past centuries, the inspiration for this renewal often came from the Greek classical period, which the people of Europe have always saw as a source of spirit, beauty and harmony with the nature. Wisdoms like "Γνώθεις αυτόν" (know yourself) or "Νους υγιής εν σώματι υγιή" (healthy mind in a healthy body) have always inspired people to find there sense in chaotic times and thus ways out of the crisis. The times of the French Revolution was also such times; Their effects changed the borders of the empires and brought about the idea of a Europe with democratic structures as we know and enjoy it today.
Philhellenism flourished again when in the 18th century many rulers, artists and scientists first made regular trips to Italy and then to the Ottoman Empire, causing what two hundred years ago helped Greece, the cradle of European culture,to find liberation from the Ottoman empire. So year 2021 runs under the hashtag #Greece2021 and gives us an opportunity to think about these important times for Europe. It would be desirable that this anniversary make it clear to us that we need to reconsider the classical ideals and understand the year 2021 as the beginning of a renaissance under the sign of harmony, love of nature, respect, humanism and democracy.
Our association is also reinventing itself in its role in the midst of a crisis that has probably affected and even damaged like many other areas, the performing arts. Music and culture must, however, continue to exist and be promoted, because their pioneering function as a “nuclear power plant” of intellectual and social fermentation is of extreme importance for human society. Art and artistic skill are an inseparable and essential part of what “being human” means and must be encouraged. That is why we are organizing the “First Bolko von Hochberg International Singing Competition” in our European city this year. The competition is open to singers and pianists (under 40 years of age) from all over the world.
There are numerous reasons why organizing a singing competition in Görlitz-Zgorzelec is a welcome novelty. Among other things, it ties in with the tradition of the Silesian music festival organized by Bolko von Hochberg around 100 years ago, which was also a meeting and competition of choirs and singers from all over Silesia and Germany. The idea of a competition that is held every two years under a changing motto clearly distinguishes it from other, well-known song competitions (eg "Hugo Wolf" in Stuttgart, "Helmut Deutsch" or "Das Lied"). Another difference is that the “Bolko-von-Hochberg Competition” is open to musicians who are talented, but who do not necessarily come from a university (and thus quasi-elitist) background. Not all musicians are lucky enough to have received training and support as a child. Nevertheless, they have a great love for song singing and may have dormant talent and a lot of potential. The competition is open to all of these people, provided they meet the conditions for participation. We want to open up new avenues for them. A third difference to the established competitions is the contribution to the research and rediscovery of the (not only) European cultural heritage of song culture. We hope to discover something new every time. For this year's edition, for example, the Ars Augusta association discovered and digitized the song cycle “Lied der Sappho” by the Austrian composer Mathilde Kralik von Mayerswalden (a manuscript from the Austrian State Library) and made the sheet music available to the musicians. The Greek composer Georgios Kasassoglou is also back in the spotlight with us, and the Canadian composer Jean Coulthard.The real protagonist of the competition, however, is Franz Schubert.The composer loved the poetry of Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe so much, and with it his idealism and love of Greece, that he composed over thirty songs on the subject of "Hellas".Most of the songs are settings by his friend Johann Mayrhofer.Many of us are probably familiar with the „Lied eines Schiffers an die Dioskuren" or "Der zürnenden Diana"...
Many songs by Franz Schubert and the composers mentioned above are part of the repertoire of the competition, as well as songs by Brahms, Hugo Wolf, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Charles Gounod and finally Hermann Reuter.But also a song by Bolko v.Hochberg was even selected by many participants: "Gute Nacht" Op.31, Nr2, which comes from a collection by Emmanuel Geibel under the title "Athens".The other poems come from the work of philhellenic poets such as Lord Byron and Friedrich Hölderlin, Friedrich Schiller and Goethe, but also the ancient and modern Greek poets Sappho, Anakreon, Dionisios Solomos and Konstantinos Kavafis.Here is a gallery of the Philhellenes and Hellenic poets (in between also Julius Slovakci, Percy Shelley, Wilhelm Müller) ...
A festival of artists, the true ambassadors of international understanding, is always a wonderful event with the potential to become a kind of cultural beacon for all of Europe. Many singers recognized this and expressed their gratitude for choosing this topic for the first edition of the competition. So writes the soprano Karola Pavone:
“... that's why I'm really happy that the competition is so focused on this topic;especially in these times it is in my opinion extremely useful for Europeans to emphasize our common cultural roots instead of national differences ... "
From March 21st to 25th, in time for the beginning of spring, a real festival of singing will take place in Görlitz: The “First International Song Competition Bolko von Hochberg”! The jury consists of specialists such as professors Britta Schwarz, Marek Rzepka and Alexander Schmalcz, the director of the “Society of Friends of Music”, Alexandros Charkiolakis, the artistic director of the “Schubertiada” festival in Barcelona, and Victor Medem, the artistic director and conductor of the Gerhart-Hauptmann-Theater, Ewa Strusinska, the opera singer Eleni Ioannidou as well as a specialist exponent of the Lausitz Festival Committee. The big concert of the winners will take place on March 26th. in the Fürstenstein Castle, the birthplace of Bolko von Hochberg in Waldenburg in Poland, another then as part of the program of the Lausitz Festival in autumn 2021. All phases of the competition are open to the public with free admission: It is even a MUST to be there, because after the end of the first phase and the semifinals, the Görlitz audience will be asked to award a prize themselves through a secret ballot with voting End of the day.
We would like to thank the Sparkasse Oberlausitz-Lower Silesia Foundation and the Görlitz Kaufhaus for their financial support for the realization of this event. However, we are urgently looking for additional support and would be particularly grateful if other foundations and culture lovers would contribute to the prize money. Of course - if desired - with effective advertising, naming as a sponsor in all media. As a non-profit association, we are also allowed to issue tax-approved donation receipts.
And here is the song "Maid of Athens", the poem by Lord Byron mostly set to music - in a version by Charles Gounod, compulsory song for the first round of the competition.
Mehr Infos und Liste der ausgewählten Teilnehmer: www.lied-competition-goerlitz.net