Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Joana Mallwitz
Our violinist Karoline Bestehorn very much looking forward to our last short concert this season on June 29: "We will play Richard Strauss' ‘Heldenleben’ with a large cast. Short concerts have only existed since this season: colleagues from various departments of the Konzerthaus have developed them together with musicians from the Konzerthausorchester. I find this collaboration extremely inspiring because you become aware that as a musician, you are part of a larger whole. We are only able to make music on stage in the spotlight because many people in different places carry out their work very professionally. I am very happy, proud and also a bit surprised how well this new format is accepted by our audience. For us musicians it is important to overcome the threshold between stage and audience. We look forward to meeting you for a drink and a chat in the house after the concert. I hope you will join us!"
You can listen to Richard Strauss' "Heldenleben" in combination to Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 2 with soloist Pablo Ferrández on July 1 and 2.
Cellist David Drost is looking forward to the concert of our audience orchestra on June 28, which will play Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2, a ballet suite by Poulenc and parts of Bizet's ‘Carmen Suites’ in the Große Saal: "I supervise the cello group and really enjoy doing it: those who are in the audience orchestra take time every week after a long day at work for a rehearsal that is not exactly short. Everyone is very committed, wants to take in as much as possible musically, and is grateful for tips on how the group can sound even better. I not only support them with fingerings and technical details, but also give tips on what kind of expressive possibilities one has with a pizzicato, for example, depending on the style of the work being played. And we work on a beautiful cello group sound that carries from the bottom out and radiates into the whole orchestra. You have to practice until you have it. But then you feel it together and look at all the happy faces."
General director Sebastian Nordmann: As an artist of enormous musicality, Christoph Eschenbach has led the musicians of the orchestra in a highly motivated manner in not easy times, has allowed us to experience musical highlights and has also repeatedly reacted with great sensitivity to human suffering caused by war and other catastrophes. The fact that he is now bidding farewell to his position (but not to the Konzerthaus) with two such universal and profound works as Schubert's "Unfinished" and Mozart's "Requiem" is entirely fitting for him as a humanist and citizen of the world. I therefore particularly recommend the two concerts on June 17 and 18 to you and look forward to experiencing them together with you.
Trumpeter Stephan Stadtfeld has studied classical trumpet, but also jazz trumpet, composition and arrangement. He is particularly looking forward to 31 May. Then he will play exclusively his own compositions and jazz arrangements with two other trumpeters, three trombonists, a jazz trio and a string ensemble from the Konzerthaus Orchestra.
"There was already a CD recording, and now comes the concert - maybe I'm just feeling similar to an architect who will soon enter his completed building for the first time!"
Stephan's arrangements relate to composers like Weber and Schumann, because romantic orchestral literature and harmonies are "very close to his heart". He was surprised at how his youthful enthusiasm for funk also found its way into it: "I thought I would write mainly jazz and swing, because this music has occupied me intensively in recent years. But the time when I listened to music by "Earth, Wind and Fire" or "Tower of Power" as a teenager was obviously no less formative!"
Many of those who work "behind the scenes" at the Konzerthaus make music themselves in their free time. Our programme director Lucilla Schmidinger played the violin for a long time, but now her heart beats especially for singing, both as a performer and as a listener. Three concerts with different female voices are at the top of her current "don't miss" list:
"On 29 March, the pianist and composer Fazil Say will come to "Klazzik", our series for explorers. On this very personal journey into the culture of his homeland, he will be accompanied by the singer Serenad Bağcan, who will sing songs to texts by Turkish poets. This is also interesting for me because I started learning this language some time ago.
"On 14 and 16 April, the British soprano Louise Alder will sing a Mozart programme with the Konzerthausorchester and the RIAS Kammerchor under Iván Fischer. On 13 April she will even be part of our wonderful format "Mittendrin". It will be a musical delight and, as always, very entertaining, because the audience will also experience Iván Fischer as a presenter, sitting in the middle of the orchestra."
"Then on 25 April our Artist in Residence, the soprano Fatma Said, will travel for an evening of chamber music. Especially to hear the Schumann songs and how she sings Schubert's "Hirt auf dem Felsen" together with Sabine Meyer's clarinet - I've been looking forward to that for a long time!"
Moritz Hellmich has been a member of the Visitor Service staff since November. What excites him about orchestral music are "touches of commitment and form, individual experience and general structures, present and past". He therefore recommends a classic and a much lesser-known piece that will be heard when Japanese conductor Yutaka Sado is a guest of the Konzerthausorchester from 31 March to 2 April: Antonín Dvořák's Ninth "From the New World" and "The Chairman Dances" by John Adams.
"From his reflection of the great expanses of the West and its limitless possibilities also speaks the striving for national self-determination in Eastern Europe. In addition, melodies and rhythms of the indigenous population merge with forms of European romanticism.
John Adams also plays with the relationship between two worlds: Nixon's visit to China raises hopes of rapprochement at the height of the Cold War. Adams playfully subverts this and has Madame Mao blow up the serious state visit to reminisce with her husband in a western foxtrot. Here, too, the musical form reconciles opposites."
For orchestra manager Sophia Berendt, Hector Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique" is perfect to enjoy in a short concert right after work. This is possible on 27 April from 6.30 p.m. with Juraj Valčuha on the podium of the Konzerthausorchester: "I am one of those who like to listen to programmatic works behind which there is a story. With the Symphonie Fantastique, this works particularly well."
"There is the "idée fixe", the recurring musical motif of the beloved, which is very easy to follow. Different settings of the plot, such as the ball or the witches' dance, are expressed in the music - and yet there is still a lot of room for one's own imagination in the five movements. There is also a lot going on on stage due to the large orchestral cast, which can be observed during the performance.
In addition to this great work, I am pleased that our principal guest conductor Juraj Valčuha is back at the house. The atmosphere in the orchestra is relaxed and concentrated under his direction, and he manages to draw out many beautiful musical details every time. Especially here they are very numerous!"
If you can't make it to the short concert: the "Symphonie Fantastique" is also on the programme in the concerts on 28 or 29 April.
Our solo trombonist Helge von Niswandt recommends a Brahms programme with principal conductor Christoph Eschenbach for May:
"For me, Brahms is the perfect representative of Romanticism. While some of his contemporaries liked to compose a few hundred bars too many, with Brahms every phrase, every note is part of a musical puzzle that would be incomplete if it were missing. There is not an ounce of fat in this music – a fact that distinguishes Brahms from many of his contemporaries.
While Wagner sometimes drowns in his own pathos (I admit it: drowning is seldom more magnificent) and Mahler loses himself in his overwhelming worlds of emotion, Brahms' work is above all joy composed to the point in the beauty of pure music in all its facets, which needs no programme and no explanation.
On 19, 20 and 21 May, our dear Christoph Eschenbach will conduct the Second Symphony with us and bring all his wisdom of age, which I think this music can bear very well. This highly recommended concert will be completed in the first half with Brahms' Violin Concerto in D major with the soloist of the evening Seiji Okamoto."
Photos: Pablo Castagnola; Tobias Kruse/OSTKREUZ (Helge von Niswandt, Stephan Stadtfeld)