Borromeo Music Festival Players
Andreas Haefliger, piano
For our season finale, the Borromeo Music Festival is coming as a guest to Andermatt for a gala performance. Together with the pianist Andreas Haefliger, the Borromeo Music Festival Players offer top-class chamber music by Schoeck, Brahms and Turina Pérez.—
Othmar Schoeck (1886–1957):
String Quartet No. 1 in D major op. 23
Joaquín Turina Pérez (1882–1949):
Piano Quartet in a minor op. 67
Johannes Brahms (1833–1897):
Piano Quintet in f minor op. 34
When asked about what is probably the greatest challenge for a pianist, Andreas Haefliger replied: “The combination of having the immense ego needed to go on stage in the first place, and then letting go of this ego in the moment that you begin to play, just so you can do justice to the music – this is very important to me, and something I’ve been working on for many, many years”. His answer makes it clear: the grand piano on the concert podium always exudes a special presence. In Andermatt, the Borromeo Music Festival Players and Haefliger will present different aspects of this piano “presence” – and its absence – in combination with string instruments.
The Spanish composer Joaquín Turina Pérez assigned a special role to the piano when he wrote his Piano Quartet in a minor in the early 1930s. He himself had almost embarked on a career as a pianist, but then decided to become a composer instead – and in the last movement of this Quartet he created a “secret” solo part for the instrument he loved so much. The Swiss composer Othmar Schoeck’s First String Quartet of 1913 naturally doesn’t need a piano at all. He artfully employs his talent for song composition to create clear, memorable melodies for his chosen instrumental ensemble. The Alpine ebullience of Schoeck’s Quartet here provides a charming contrast to the Spanish pathos of Turina Pérez.
Johannes Brahms also had in mind a combination of string instruments alone when he set to work on a quintet for two violins, a viola and two cellos in August 1862. But he found the resultant sound in some places “emasculated and thin”, and in other places “too thick”. So he made a volte-face and recast his work as a piano duo instead. He performed it thus with his close confidante Clara Schumann, but on her recommendation he subjected the work to yet another fundamental revision. It was only in the combination of string quartet plus piano that Brahms found himself able to achieve the balanced, perfect sound he wanted. The resultant Piano Quintet was first heard in 1865 in the apartment of his Basel friends, the Riggenbach-Stehlins, and it is in this form that we can hear the work in Andermatt.
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