Franz Liszt Music Festival
Ballenstedt 1852


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The 3rd Music Festival of Anhalt-Bernburg took place in Ballenstedt on 22 and 23 June, 1852. Franz Liszt, at that time Director of Music at the Weimar court, was in charge of the musical direction and called it the first future music festival.
Scientists of the Music University "Franz Liszt" at Weimar refer to it as the first important music event of the Neudeutsche Schule (New German School) around Liszt, Wagner and Berlioz, a milestone in the development of music in Germany. It was the first time that the musical ideas of the composers extended far beyond the Weimar borders.

Although composers like Gluck, Beethoven and Mendelssohn-Bartholdy were also represented, the programme was a clear commitment to the new music style of that time: three compositions by Richard Wagner and pieces by Berlioz, Liszt and Raff set the priorities. The size of the orchestra (84 musicians) and that of the choir (more than 200 singers) and their compositions were really sensational for that period. The orchestra was made up of musicians of the court orchestras of Weimar, Sondershausen and Ballenstedt. The choir united singers from Leipzig (the students' choir "Pauliner"), Dessau, Halle, Bernburg and Ballenstedt.

Programme of the Music Festival 1852 (in German)