In 1864, in a letter to Richard Wagner, King Ludwig II sketched out a programme with which he sought to revolutionize the Munich theatre scene and transfer the audience into “a loftier, more collected mood”. The stage was henceforth to be dominated by the works of Calderón, Shakespeare, Schiller and Goethe; the concert halls by the works of Gluck, Mozart, Beethoven and Weber: two at first separate lines, which would then meet in the creative œuvre of Richard Wagner.
“Mozart-Lines” – this was the motto of the 2006 Herrenchiemsee Festival: a homage to the Salzburg genius on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of his birth. And yet it was not just about celebrating some chance anniversary, and thereby to take Mozart’s work out of the context of musical history. But rather, in accordance with Ludwig’s postulate, we wished to show the lines that led from Mozart’s work and pointed to the future, whether in their immediate effect, for example, on Schubert’s “Tragic” Symphony, or in the detached reverence such as Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Max Reger expressed with their Mozart variations. An important subsidiary theme was the œuvre of a second composer whose anniversary also fell that year: Dmitri Shostakovich would have been 100 in 2006, and in his work there are particularly stimulating echoes of Mozart.