Schubert’s Sun in September – Music in Dresden

Francesco Piemontezi. Photo: Marco Borgrave

There are no conventions in the cultural life of Dresden. Unfortunately. But this time it almost seemed like that.

A Sunday dedicated to Schubert. Franz Schubert, of the village where he was born in Heimpelfortgrund, after only 31 years of life and work, has disappeared again in heaven, behind the gate or in the earth (no matter who believes in him). However, this short-lived Vienna left behind a whole series of beautiful compositions (both the faithfully named village of Himmelpfortgrund and the place where he died, Wieden, have long been incorporated into the Austrian capital). The penultimate Sunday in Dresden in September was all about this music.

The Dresden Orchestra, with its principal conductor Marek Janowski, made a guest appearance at the Baroque Basilica in Ottoburen and performed Anton Bruckner’s Grand Symphony No. 8 that afternoon, but the Saxon State Orchestra, having just returned from its European tour to open the season, played an unusually early start For Dmitriy Shostakovich a strange “nose”, but the evening hours of both Kulturpalast and Semperoper belonged to the music of Franz Schubert.

First, Francesco Piemontesi was more modern resident artist Honoring the Philharmonic with recitation. At six in the evening he began, first of all very impressionistically with the “portraits” of Claude Debussy. As if the sensitive Frenchman wanted to refer retroactively to three D 946 piano pieces from the year that Franz Schubert died in this composition written at the beginning of the twentieth century. Playful, mischievous, subtle, and largely subtle, these pieces seemed completely independent, yet stunningly reflected in each other.

Francesco Piemontesi masters the rare balance between refined touch, rugged technique and emotional expression. The Swiss, who lives in Berlin, also gave a masterful testament to this ability after the break and fingered five Helmut Lachenmann variations on a 1956 theme by Franz Schubert, with formidable spirit, without falling into the role of a pure performer. No, Piemontesi proved expressive, brilliantly celebrating the highest level of craftsmanship paired with an intelligent interpretation of the content.

The virtuoso considers Schubert’s work on piano to be “heart pieces,” he admitted to us in advance, even Piemontesi seeing the D 960 flat major sonata B, written in the year of his death in 1828, as “great love.” Love also knows how to justify it in a very personal way: “Because this music speaks to me so directly. I drift away even when I’m playing! I really can’t say that of any other composer to this extent and with such intensity.”

From a clipper to an earring

George Siebenfeld (Photo: Matthias Kreutziger)

Does singer George Seibenfeld feel the same way? That same evening, exactly two hours later, at Semperoper, he began playing the cycle of Schubert’s song “Winterreise”. Accompanied on piano by Jerrold Hopper, who proved to be an excellent partner. There is no red carpet in the sound of the keys, but rather a perfectly intertwined mixture of vocals and accompaniment.

Zeppenfeld deeply absorbed this “episode of terrible songs” (Schubert on Schubert) and executed it with great sensitivity. singer actor par excellence. Through bodily scattered gestures and a colossal array of vocal expressions, he conveyed the tragedy of unhappy lovers, lonely wanderers, more and more people saying goodbye. Every tone, yes, every syllable sounds completely colorful and symmetrical. Rising from deep blackness, his voice gave off a bronze warmth and lifted it high into the radiant azure sky. Unhappy love is just as tangible as growing loneliness, like freezing in snow, and rushing wind, and river, like the pain of impermanence. Zebenfeld’s eyes are sometimes friendly, sometimes smiling, then painfully despairing and sadly beaming. He comments on his singing physically, explaining how much he absorbed this music.

All this becomes in last hope Consciously, because there is nothing here in the rhythmic flow of the piano that the singer can stick to. But Georg Seibenfeld does not seem to need a strict tactical orientation, moving like a sleepwalker during Schubert’s daring adventures and stranding while commemorating the cemetery in the inn in A strong man And his stiff fingers. When you hear and see it, it sends chills down your spine.

To describe such an evening as lavish would be a heartless understatement.

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