Ruth Ziesak © Rosa Frank

“Dialectics of Freedom. From Self-Determination to Surveillance of Men”

“Dare to be free” is the motto of this year’s Heidelberger Frühling. We associate the attainment of freedom above all with the Enlightenment and the idea of revolution. No one embodied the idea of freedom with greater élan than Schiller. But he also noted and analysed its dialectics. The stoutest champions of the Enlightenment did their best to assert liberty with despotic means, for example in secret societies like the Illuminati with their sophisticated surveillance apparatus. And when the great revolution finally came, it soon resembled a reign of terror and itself came up with the paradoxical phrase “despotism of freedom”. The dialectics involved were perilous, leaving their mark on many movements that proclaimed liberty on their banners, only to transform it into coercion and compulsion in practice. Goethe’s Faust is a case in point. Initially achieving personal freedom by divesting himself of all the shackles hamstringing his life so far, he ends up proclaiming liberty but using main force to impose it on others.

The venue for the whole event is the ballroom of Stadthalle Heidelberg.

Sebastian Seitz © Stutte

Maximilian Krummen & Sebastian Seitz

A young man embarking on the long journey through life resolves to find out its deeper meaning. The conclusion he comes to is that the quintessence of all his striving is the quest for love. In the literature and music of Romanticism and the Lied as the place where they meet, love is the most frequently sung theme of our earthly existence. Alongside the consummate artistry of these songs we also have the earthier folksongs, in which the desire for love is expressed perhaps more simply and directly. Operating in the field of tension extending between these two poles, the first Lied.Lab of the festival juxtaposes folk-song arrangements with echoes of the folksong in the Lied and other “crossover” phenomena, for example in Beethoven’s arrangements of folksongs for piano trio and in the songs of the American composer Charles Ives.

In cooperation with Frauenbad Heidelberg


Jörg Tröger in an interview with Sebastian Seitz

Sebastian Seitz © Stutte

Thomas Hampson © Kristin Hoebermann

Thomas Hampson & The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen

“Serious” music in the United States was long defined solely by the musical traditions of Europe. Gradually, however, the ethnic and cultural diversity of the inhabitants asserted themselves and specifically “American” idioms began to emerge. These range from Samuel Barber’s “Serenade for Strings”, composed when he was only 18, and Aaron Copland’s celebration of the first settlers in his ballet “Appalachian Spring” with its folksong reminiscences to Leonard Bernstein’s exuberant overture to “Candide”. Thomas Hampson, who for many years has so greatly enriched the Frühling both musically and personally, presents a work written for him in 2009 by Michael Daugherty: “Letters from Lincoln”, a musical homage to the famous president and champion of the abolition of slavery.

Special thanks to
Freundeskreis Heidelberger Frühling



The concert will be recorded by
Deutschlandradio Kultur


Broadcast: 6 April 15 8:03pm Deutschlandradio Kultur