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Bratislava hears Walter's message

THE SECOND annual Musical Days of Bruno Walter took place from September 10 to 21. The festival's artistic director, Bratislava native Jack Martin Händler, a conductor and violinist of European significance, initiated the festival to help keep alive the message of the great conductor and humanist, Walter.

The filled concert halls of the festival's Bratislava venues were testament to the fact that Walter's message is still being heard.

Bruno Walter (1876-1962), whose Jewish background forced him to leave his native Germany and settle in the USA, spent his whole life combating prejudice through music.

The closing concert of the festival, the Concert for Peace, emphasized the relevance of his message in today's world.

Other concerts in the series, as well as workshops and presentations reminded Slovaks of Walter, who spent 1897 and 1898 in Bratislava.

The concerts featured pieces by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Wagner, works that Walter returned to all his life. They were performed by renowned musicians as well as emerging talents for whom the prolific Händler has provided opportunities through the European Music Academy Schengen-Bratislava.

Händler welcomed the fact that Vienna, where Walter worked for a long time, became a partner in the festival.

On September 15, the anniversary of Walter's birth was marked with a concert at the Austrian capital's Konzerthaus. A room dedicated to the musician's sojourn in Bratislava can be found at the Zichy Palace.

- Zuzana Habšudová

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