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The now traditional Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn took place in the park of Schönbrunn Palace on June 2, 2011. After the concert opened with Franz Liszt's "Les Preludes", Benjamin Schmid, who had previously made his very successful debut with our orchestra and Seiji Ozawa performing Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Violin Concerto in D major, op. 35, on June 9/10, 2007, performed the Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major by Nicolò Paganini in the arrangement by Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962). The legendary Viennese violinist Kreisler, who between 1898 and 1937 made three guest appearances with the Vienna Philharmonic, left Paganini's violin part almost completely unchanged, while composing a harmonically and acoustically ingenious new orchestral part, as well as a cadenza which is as brilliant as it is sophisticated.
In remembrance of the victims of the natural catastrophe in Fukushima, Jean Sibelius' "Scene with Cranes", op. 44/2, from the incidental music to Arvid Järnefelt's drama "Kuolema" was performed (in Japan, the crane is a symbol for good luck and long life). For the final piece on the official program, Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition", in the instrumentation by Maurice Ravel, was performed. This was followed by two encores by Johann Strauss. Whereas the waltz "Wiener Blut", op. 354, is performed every year in Schönbrunn, the fast polka "Vom Donaustrande (On the Banks of the Danube)", op. 356, was a reference to the new strategy for the countries along the Danube, which is being planned by the EU-Commission.
For the second time, Valery Gergiev, the head conductor and artistic director of the Marinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, conducted the Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert, which this year set a new attendance record. The Association of the Vienna State Opera Ballet danced to "Wiener Blut" and the children of the ballet school of the Vienna State Opera performed to "Pictures at an Exhibition" in the choreography of Gregor Hatala. The television broadcast by the ORF, which with the assistance of the European Broadcasting Union was broadcast either live or time delayed by approximately 60 television networks on all five continents, was viewed in Austria by 425,000 people, which corresponds to an 18 % market share and a rating of 4.6.
Since 2004, the Vienna Philharmonic has annually performed an open-air concert in the historical park of Schönbrunn Palace which, along with the palace itself, is a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site. Since 2008, the Philharmonic has been the producer of this event, which, due to great audience interest and the world-wide television broadcast coordinated by the T.E.A.M Marketing Agency, has taken on extraordinary dimensions. In addition to the perfect cooperation of the Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsgesellschaft and the Austrian Federal Gardens, this year's Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn was made possible by our presenting sponsor ROLEX, and also effectively supported by the event sponsors (Austrian National Bank, Mint Austria, Palace Coburg, Bank Austria) and the Federal Chancellery, the Ministry of Finance and Wien Kultur. The organisation of the event was once again under the auspices of the Künstlersekretariat Buchmann GesmbH.