Baha Festival in Leipzig ( Bachfest Leipzig ) – international music festival and the most prestigious festival in Germany dedicated to the work of the great German composer Johann Sebastian Bach. It takes place annually in Leipzig in mid-June and lasts 10 days.
It should be said that in Germany several festivals dedicated to Bach are held annually, but it is Leipzigsky who is the most famous. For many years he has been very successful and is traditionally in high demand among fans of the work of this great composer. Many famous musicians and music lovers « eternal music » from around the world come here.
Of course, Leipzig – a city known for its cultural traditions – is associated not only with the name Baha – Mendelssohn, Schumann, Schiller lived here at different times. But it is with Leipzig that the most fruitful era in the life and work of Bach – is connected here in the Church of St. Thomas, he played the organ for more than 20 years and led the choir of boys. And here – in front of the entrance to the church – there is a monument to Bach, and at the altar of this church he is buried.
Bachfest Leipzig – festival with a long tradition. It was first held in 1904 and was initiated by members of the « Neue Bachgesellschaft » composer's work. Since 1908, the Leipzig City Hall has undertaken the organization of the event. Although the festival was not held every year, but quite regularly. Since the 1920s, the slogan « Leipzig – the city of music » appeared. However, only since the mid-1990s it was officially decided to hold Bachfest Leipzig annually. The festival was organized by the Leipzig archive of Bach and the city hall. On a special scale, the festival was held in 2000 – in the year of the 250th anniversary of the death of Bach. In subsequent years, he gained more and more popularity, the number of guests increased, and the program of the festival itself became more diverse and eventful.
Each year the festival is dedicated to a special topic related to the work of Bach. Since the music of the great composer does not need a « festival » reason for performance, so the organizers then go in search of the origins of Bach's music, they turn to its context. For example, the theme of the 2004 festival – « Bah and romanticism », when in concerts of the compositions of Bach they coexisted with the music of Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms; in 2005 – « Bach and the future », where Ligeti and Zimmerman, Xenakis and Shtokhausen sounded next to Bach ... After the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of F. Mendelssohn and R. Schumann in 2009 and 2010, in 2011, at the Leipzig festival of Bach, the memory of two more prominent musicians – F. was honored. Sheet ( 200th birthday ) and G. Mahler ( 100 years since his death ). In 2012, they celebrated the 800th anniversary of the day when music first sounded in St. Thomas, in 2014 the festival was dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the birth of Karl Philippe Emanuel. The year 2015 was marked by the 1000th anniversary of the city of Leipzig itself, in 2017, the festival was dedicated to Martin Luther and the topic of Reformation. In 2018, the theme of the festival was « Cycles » – it is Bach’s addiction to cyclic forms and groups of works in which he systematically explores the compositional possibilities of one topic or a certain genre, prompted the organizers to choose this topic. In 2019, the theme of the festival was « The court composer ».
On festival days, the works of Bach – and these are masses, works for the choir and orchestra, organ and symphony works – are performed by soloists, musical ensembles and groups of world magnitude in churches and in the historical concert halls of Leipzig, where the great composer once lived and worked. Traditionally, the grand opening of the festival takes place in the famous Church of St. Thomas.
In total, about 100 concerts and various performances take place during the festival. The main place in the program is occupied by musical works of the 19th century, but the public is offered not only organ and church music, but also chamber concerts and jazz interpretations. Also, festival participants present their programs dedicated to the work of Bach.
It is worth saying that dozens of Bahov festivals are held annually in Germany, but not one of them can compare in level and popularity with Leipzig. The volumetric program, which includes many events, is focused on almost any age and taste, and part of the events are free. The Baha Festival – is a mixture of secular and spiritual concerts.
The festival’s music program is organically complemented by various cultural events related to the personality of Bach. For example, excursion concerts in the suburbs of Leipzig, where the composer, competitions of young performers, film screenings, an exhibition of manuscripts and documents of Bach, lectures and reports, as well as a magnificent culinary program, often visited. Another of the bright events of the festival ( since 2003 ) – is the presentation of the Bach Medal to outstanding musicians. The medal is made of Maysen porcelain.
The Bachfest Leipzig – is one of the highlight of the year. He secures Leipzig the glory of the musical capital of Germany. After all, Bach accepts everyone. His music makes us think about life and death, good and evil, think about the meaning of life and what we live for…