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Beauty and tragedy

Dennis Russell Davies at the Oberstdorf Music Festival,
reported by TESS CREBBIN


Dennis Russell Davies brought his Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra to Oberstdorf for a 30 July 2004 concert in the local Catholic Church. Oberstdorf is a picturesque mountain village some 160km south of Munich, and one of the most spectacular settings imaginable for a music festival. Nestled in an Alpine mountain valley on the border with Austria, the place may not be heaven but it comes pretty close: mountains, meadows bursting with flowers, fresh milk and cheese from happy cows, crystal clear mountain streams, smiling people, a slow and relaxed pace of life ... all this makes you want to never leave again. This also happened to many wealthy Europeans who bought houses there -- the result: one of Europe's finest health spas/thermal baths and a very prestigious summer music festival attracting some of the best names in classical music.

Oberstdorf and Alpine scenery. Photo: Oberstdorf Tourist Office
Oberstdorf and Alpine scenery. Photo: Oberstdorf Tourist Office

'I came here because I love the place, simply love it,' conductor Dennis Russell Davies said before his concert. 'It has a very special kind of magic.'

The Catholic Church, Oberstdorf. Photo: Philip Crebbin
The Catholic Church, Oberstdorf. Photo: Philip Crebbin

And so it has indeed. German cellist Professor Peter Bruck, organiser of the annual Oberstdorfer Musik Sommer, has enjoyed a fine international career and now is in a position of using his contacts to make the Oberstdorf Festival one of the most interesting summer music festivals in Germany. Dennis Russell Davies and his orchestra crammed their Oberstdorf appearance into a tight schedule, driving there straight from Stuttgart, arriving just in time for a short rehearsal and the performance, then drove back at once because they had concerts scheduled in Stuttgart the following day. Considerable, if one keeps in mind it is a four hour trip each way.

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Copyright © 14 August 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany


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