Poster designed by Burkhard Mangold in 1917 for a series of concerts in Switzerland conducted by Felix Weingartner with the court orchestra of the Grand Duchy of Hesse, Darmstadt.
Felix Weingartner was then the general director of music in Darmstadt. He was one of the most famous conductors of the early 20th century and was considered a specialist in the interpretation of Beethoven.
The poster quotes the theme of the second movement (slow movement: Marcia funebre Adagio assai) of Beethoven's 3rd Symphony, the so-called "Eroica". The theme is grave and tragic, a funeral march for the death of a hero.
Burkhard Mangold's posters often consist of a central medallion on a plain light-coloured background, in which the main theme is illustrated, as in the poster for the Schutzenhaus in 1917 or the poster for the "Ausstellung moderner Handspitzen" exhibition at the Basel Advertising Museum in 1914.
Here the medallion takes the shape of a stylised Greek lyre - the lyre of Apollo, god of the arts - whose seven strings symbolise the seven notes of the musical scale. It can also be seen as a theatre stage with its red curtain and orchestra pit.
The top of the lyre is made up of acanthus leaves which surround the theatre stage with a bright red acanthus flower in the centre, the stems of which represent both the strings of the lyre and the flow of blood. The acanthus was mainly used in classical architecture on funerary monuments, as a symbol of overcoming the trials of life, of triumph over adversity.
In the manner of a bas-relief, a sculpture or a Greek vase, the lower part represents the sound box of the lyre or the orchestra pit of this stylised theatre scene. It is decorated with a funeral procession of mourners who walk to the slow rhythm of the music (literally: the notes appear on a staff below them).
The colour palette is reduced to black, white and red. The theme of death and tragedy is omnipresent. The year is 1917: the First World War is in full swing.
- Condition A+
- Code U063600