It is an interesting troupe that has already performed at the kissinger summer for the second time this year – and can gladly continue to do so: the "ensemble 2012 russia-germany". This is an initiative in which students from the moscow conservatory and the two berlin music academies came together in 2012, the russia/germany cultural year, to make music together across borders and cultures – a project sponsored by valeri gergiev. In bad kissingen, a nine-member group performed in two concerts.
The first concert was dedicated to two piano quartets, first the quartet in B-flat major for piano, clarinet, bassoon and horn by mikhail glinka, a rarity in the repertoire, played with great vigor by the bassoon and horn, colored with virtuosity by the flute, and driven by the piano in a pausing and almost mercilessly permanent manner. And it was precisely because the three played so well and handled the technical refinements so casually that it was noticeable that glinka did not come up with too much, especially in the first movement.
The youthful approach also did the quartet for piano, violin, viola and violoncello a lot of good. Although the four musicians also hit the balladesque tone of the opening beautifully. But they played strongly on creative confrontation, avoiding any kind of ponderousness. On the other hand, the andante was also performed very quietly and with a touch of mystery. The whistle of the rondo alla ongarese was of course not missed by them.
The second concert in the rossini hall began with igor stravinsky and his suite from "the story of the soldier for violin, clarinet and piano. Those who still remembered the original version of daniel hope’s production last year could look forward to this music. For kolja blacher, the violinist and this year’s mentor of the group, the clarinettist nikita vaganov and sergei redkin on the piano gave this music not only its oppressive power, but also its irony, with a sometimes brutally hard, indomitable grip. The "marche du soldat or the "valse had neither military nor elegant charm in its scratchy, chopped chords.
It was astonishing that the mezzo-soprano yulia matochkina from moscow had come along and performed "songs and dances of death" – it doesn’t sound quite as drastic as "four songs of death" – by modest mussorgsky sang. Not because she sang it, but because she came at all. Because yulia matochkina is no longer a student. She is an ensemble member of the st. St. Petersburg’s mariinsky theater, where she also works a lot with gergiev, and she often travels internationally.
This is not meant to be a complaint, of course, because you don’t hear a voice like yours every day: immensely substantial and agile, assertive, richly colored in its dark timbre and highly dramatic when it needs to be. And that had to be. For the songs are about death and its tricks to draw people to its side: the infant, the sick woman, the drunken farmer and the soldiers on the battlefield. Yulia matochkina sang it all most expressively and movingly, but it was also a bit of monumental preservation of the 19th century aesthetics. The songs of the twentieth century, not only in their songs, but also in their gestures – as is probably the case with mariiskijs. This was particularly noticeable, of course, because the last song, "der feldherr," was played by the violinist with all his heroic pathos exactly the world that igor stravinsky had just described in his "soldier’s tale" ironized.
At the end, there was a rarely performed work that can bring the most people on stage: the octet for five strings and three winds by franz schubert. It was beautifully performed, but there was one weak point: of all people, the primarius kolja blacher, international soloist, concertmaster of the berlin philharmonic for six years, violin professor in berlin. He, of all people, provided too little impetus, slowing down the young people playing next to him and throwing the balance of sound out of kilter again and again. The wind players sitting further away were not impressed by this, and the double bass asserts itself more easily for physical reasons alone. So the music had certain problems not only to get into a precise swing but also to hold it. But perhaps one reason was that you simply need a bit more experience to hold your own in this not entirely uncomplicated work.