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Milan Turković Monika Mertl - The strangest Viennese in the world - Nikolaus Harnoncourt and his Concentus Musicus

50 years of musical expeditions

This portrait of an ensemble of great stylistic influence traces its history from its pioneering days to the present.

Nowadays this is all taken for granted. The classical music market is populated by whole droves of ensembles producing "original" sound, young musicians demonstrate their mastery on period instruments, and the term "Klangrede" [music as speech] has long become everyday usage. In 1953, when the cellist Nikolaus Harnoncourt and his wife Alice, a violinist, began a private artistic experiment together with a handful of interested colleagues, Early Music was uncharted territory. For four years, Harnoncourt and his friends rehearsed in their living-room, researching musical material and instruments, techniques and sounds until they were ready to venture into public performance. Insatiable curiosity, unseen assiduity and inexhaustible devotion to an idea whose success was unforeseeable characterised the early days, during which the Concentus Musicus of Vienna developed into an ensemble which had a determining influence on period style. This book is intended to bring to life fifty years of adventure, during which a conspiracy of highly specialised musicians set new standards with each stage of their development, making interpretative history. Milan Turković, a member of Concentus, and Monika Mertl, Harnoncourt's biographer, examine all these various events in a balanced view from both inside and out. A CD with commentary by Nikolaus Harnoncourt accompanies the text.

Book details

With b/w fotos and a CD
296 pages
format:160 x 220
ISBN: 9783701712670
Release date: 01.01.2003

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  • World rights available
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Milan Turković

is a freelance bassoon solist and conductor. He is memeber of the Concentus Musicus Vienna, the ensemble Vienna-Belrin and of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New Your. Moreover he works as paedagogue and author.

Monika Mertl

born in Vienna in 1955, studied dramaturgy, German and Romance literatures. She has published numerous articles on music, portraits of artists and reviews. She editor of the official catalog of the Salzburg Festival and lives as a freelance journalist in Vienna.Read more


Die Concentus-Gründung gehört zur Handvoll der wichtigsten Punkte in meinem Leben.

Monika Mertl und Milan Turkovic berichten von legendären Musik-Ereignissen, aber sie weben keine Legenden. Vor allem vermeiden sie jeden Hauch von Hagiografie. Glorifizierung hat Harnoncourt nicht nötig.

Klar ist: Der Concentus ist vor allem ein Beispiel dafür, dass alle historische Basisforschung nur dann Sinn macht und musikalische Wahrheit nur dann wahr wird, wenn sie durch lebendiges Musizieren transportiert werden. Unklar ist nur, was nach Harnoncourt sein wird.

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