10 questions to Markus Poschner |

Joongang Daily newspaper
Interview with Markus Poschner

Markus Poschner talking
Markus Poschner copyright: Marietta Tsoukalas

It is known that you were born and raised in a family of church musicians, and you
heard Bruckner’s works at an early age. How did you feel about Bruckner back then?

Markus Poschner: 
Since my first experience with Bruckner’s music as a little boy singing in the choir of
my father I was deeply thrilled by this warm, mystic, expansive and unique
atmosphere, which I never could find with any other composers.

You used to be a Jazz pianist in your youth. Was there any Jazz musician who
inspired you? Where and how long did you perform jazz piano?

Markus Poschner: 
As a teenager I used to invest all my first own money in the complete recordings of
Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, Keith Jarrett and many many others. I really was
obsessed during that period by doing transcriptions of the best solos, I admired on
the recordings the most. This was the best early ear training I could ever imagine.
Until today actually I never stopped playing the piano, even some performances are
planed in the next couple of months. It’s just getting harder to find enough time slots
for practicing next to all my concert and opera productions. I deeply wish having
more time with my grand piano at home.

You were taught by Sir Roger Norrington and Sir Colin Davis. Please tell us about
any significant lessons you learned from them.

Markus Poschner: 
It’s definitely been a privilege to work with this outstanding artist and gentlemen.
From the performing practice point of view they could not have been more different,
but both of them full of enthusiasm and love to all their specific repertoire. The
conducting technique and elegance of Colin Davis was unreachable and not a bit
less impressive than the unbelievable knowledge of classical and romantic
performing practice of Roger Norrington. So, I have benefited incredibly from both.

You said, “Bruckner Orchestra Linz’s Bruckner is inevitably different.” Tell us more
about the difference that the orchestra makes.

Markus Poschner: 
It’s all about the way of phrasing music. Of course, many orchestras have highly
trained and educated members, which are able to perform many different styles of
classical music in an extraordinary quality, but there are only are very few
orchestras, who are familiar with the real traditions of austrian folk music, like
Landler, Polka and Waltzer, which is so basic for all of Bruckner’s music. The point is
always, the interesting things about performing practice you cannot fix by musical
notation. In a score you can find unambiguous markings regarding tempo,
articulation etc., but nothing about the real phrasing, about how to make the text
alive, to find the right “groove”. The truth about music always is hidden between the
lines in the scores.

Bruckner Orchestra Linz is particularly known for its Bruckner performances, such
as Symphony No. 5, 7, and 8 with Conductor Kurt Eichhorn and others. What are the
distinct characteristics of Bruckner Orchestra Linz?

Markus Poschner: 
My orchestra is one of the very few orchestras in the world, which is performing
Bruckner’s music regularly since many decades. They know all this repertoire literally
by heart and have an unlimited experience with all the possible and even impossible
aspects of interpretations. The level we are about to start rehearsals, others never
are getting there.

You are carrying out a great project of recording all Bruckner symphonies in all of
their versions with Bruckner Orchestra Linz and Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra
through Capriccio label, which will be finished in 2024 to celebrate Bruckner’s 200th
birthday. Please tell us about the significance of the project and what you feel during
the recording.

Markus Poschner: 
Our complete versions symphony edition is not only a quantitative challenge, it’s also
a new and unique statement in performing practice of Bruckner’s symphonies. There
are still so many cliched ideas and misunderstandings as soon as it comes to
questions of sound, articulation, dynamics and phrasing. So we tried to discover and
establish an authentic approach to his music in cooperation with the Bruckner
Institute as maybe only austrian orchestras are privileged to do.

Many people think Bruckner’s symphonies are intricate and difficult. Interestingly,
once you are clicked, you can’t get out of his music. What are the things we should
know to better understand the composer’s symphonies?

Markus Poschner: 
We have to consider this symphonies are not made for understanding immediately
after the first time listening. Even for me after many many performances I’m
discovering new aspects and details every single moment, I’m conducting this
symphonies. So, basically there’s no trick or information you absolutely need to have
to understand. There’s nothing to “understand”, if you know what I mean. Open your
ears and close your eyes - this is all you have to do.

At this year’s Bayreuth Festival, you conducted Tristan und Isolde instead of
Pietari Inkinen, who had been infected with COVID-19. How was it to conduct
Wagner’s music drama?

Markus Poschner: 
Oh, to open the Bayreuther Festspiele 2022 by conducting Tristan & Isolde is like a
dream comes true. A unique place full of tradition since 1876 and at the same time
being surrounded by an unbelievable amount of fantastic musicians - this was really
unforgettable. And I’m so glad to be invited continuing next season 2023 with the
same piece.

In Seoul, you also conduct Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, Piano concerto No. 1,
and Symphony No. 7. How do you interpret Beethoven from what perspective?

Markus Poschner: 
Beethoven is for me the center of all symphonic music in the 19th century and one of
my heroes. His power and revolutionary ideas in music is unique. Especially his 7th
symphony for me is one of the most important pieces ever written.

You will be very busy with conducting schedule. Please tell us about any
significant program or event later this year and next year.

Markus Poschner: 
Oh, there are plenty of beautiful projects in the next upcoming periods. Directly after
Seoul I’m traveling to the United States to give there my debut, then to Amsterdam,
and quite a lot to Vienna for some wonderful concert productions. Later in March
2023 we are going to start out Meistersinger opera production in Linz and
afterwards I’m in Bayreuth for Tristan & Isolde again.

BOL copyright: Reinhard Winkler 


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