My first encounter with the Tyrolean Festival Erl

What is expecting me in Erl? I asked myself.


Before my job took me to Erl, I had spent half of my life in Vienna. Since I regularly enjoyed classical concerts in the capital of culture par excellence, I was a bit sceptical: “Classical music in Erl?” I honestly could not imagine that Erl - although a very pretty small town in the Tyrolean Unterland region - would offer a quality of music comparable to that in Vienna.

Opening concert

This year, the festival focused on Russian composers and that's why I decided to attend the opening concert. It was a beautiful and warm summer evening. I was standing in front of the impressive Festspielhaus, with its dark facade presenting itself majestically. I climbed up the staircase reverently – as if I needed to bow to it. Reaching the entrance, I was not only stunned by the beautiful view overlooking the mountainous landscape, but also by the elegantly dressed ladies and gentlemen, reminding me of the Vienna State Opera’s audience.

The program included works of four young Russian composers, commissioned by the Tyrolean Festival Erl, as well as the Italian pianist Busoni. Upon hearing the first sounds, I was reminded of the words of the festival’s president Dr. Haselsteiner at the opening speech: He said that “we are open-mined and have the courage to take risks”.

My passion for classical music did not appear overnight. It was more a careful development; letting go of traditional expectations, getting into something new and unknown. It is just this understanding of modern classical music that one has to have in order to fully appreciate this music.

The opening was followed by an excellent monumental one-hour-work for piano, orchestra, and male chorus.

Other outstanding Cultural Evenings followed

Deeply impressed and emotionally touched, I attended further concerts. Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto and Strauss' “Alpine” Symphony, performed in the “Passionsspielhaus”, were certainly another highlight.

The chamber concerts, such as the recital of Davide Cabassi and the Signum Saxophone Quartet in combination with the violoncello, also constituted a unique cultural experience!

Classical music in Erl has convinced me and my initial scepticism has given way to enthusiasm. At the end of the festival I know that music sets the tone in Erl!

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