Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival Ensemble
Mojca Erdmann, soprano
Michael Barenboim, violin
Yamen Saadi, violin
Sara Ferrandez, viola
Gerard Caussé, viola
Astrig Siranossian, cello
Ivan Karizna, cello
Nabil Shehata, double bass
Karl-Heinz Steffens, clarinet
Elena Bashkirova, piano
The Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival Ensemble with Elena Bashkirova, Mojca Erdmann and Michael Barenboim will play works by the great Romantics Schubert, Mendelssohn and Schumann.—
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809–1847):
Three Pieces for clarinet, cello and piano (arranged by Ernst Naumann)
Robert Schumann (1810–1856):
Fantasy Pieces for piano and clarinet, op. 73
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy / Aribert Reimann (*1936):
“…oder soll es Tod bedeuten?”. Eight songs and a fragment by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy after poems by Heinrich Heine, arranged for soprano and string quartet with six intermezzi by Aribert Reimann
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy:
A selection of songs. Elena Bashkirova & Mojca Erdmann
Franz Schubert: Quintet in A major for piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass, D 667 (“The Trout”)
The three composers whose music features in our second chamber concert with the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival Ensemble all had to cope with prejudice in their lifetime – and still do. Franz Schubert, often labelled the “prince of song”, may be considered peerless in that art, though in the rest of his oeuvre he was long regarded as unable to match the genius of his contemporary Ludwig van Beethoven. Robert Schumann was deemed “mad”, as he suffered from an illness that saw him confined to a psychiatric institution. Ever since, his late works have been stigmatised as barely worthy of performance. Then, finally, we have Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, whose reputation suffered lasting damage not least thanks to Richard Wagner’s insidious anti-Semitic accusations that his work was supposedly sentimental and superficial. Even though these clichés have since been more than adequately refuted, they continue to determine the image of these three great Romantic composers to this day. This chamber music evening in the Andermatt Concert Hall will offer ample opportunity to put these outdated ideas into perspective.
Schumann’s Fantasy Pieces belong to a series of works that he composed in reaction to the German uprisings of 1848/49. They reflect the smaller-scale, simpler forms of domestic music-making that were typical of the “Biedermeier” period and that meanwhile feature more and more in our concert halls today. Schumann leaves the precise meaning of these pieces to our own imagination – these “Fantasy Pieces” are thus provided only with designations such as “tender” and “expressively”. Mendelssohn’s Three Pieces were once similarly considered to be mere “domestic” fare, and he too leaves all matters of meaning to our free fantasy by means of abstract titles such as “song without words”.
By contrast, the compositions by Mendelssohn that have been selected and arranged for soprano and string quartet by Aribert Reimann are songs with words; Reimann has also added linking intermezzi. These songs to texts by Heinrich Heine were all composed separately, but in Reimann’s arrangement they coalesce to form a moving song cycle exploring the question that Reimann has chosen as their overall title: “… or does this then mean death?”
Schubert’s “Trout Quintet” naturally does not imply a band of musicking freshwater fish, but received its nickname on account of its fourth movement, which is a set of variations on his song “Die Forelle” (“The Trout”).
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