Start of a rousing celebration
“Knowst thou the land where the lemon trees bloom,
Where the gold orange glows in the deep thicket’s gloom,
Where a wind ever soft from the blue heaven blows,
And the groves are of laurel and myrtle and rose.”
The opening weekend of Klosters Music promises great musical experiences
The longing for Italy that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe expressed in his poem Mignon was also shared by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. The composer met the poet in Weimar a total of five times; the first times when he was still a child prodigy, and during his last stay in May 1830 as a 21-year-old man. The composer, admired by Goethe, went to Venice and Florence in the autumn of the same year, via Munich and Vienna. Mendelssohn Bartholdy stayed in Rome for five months. He took Goethe’s Italian Journey, based on diary entries, with him and followed in his footsteps. In the spring of 1831, he visited Naples and the spectacular Amalfi Coast with its enchanting little town of Amalfi at the foot of craggy cliffs. There, the composer, who also had a talent for drawing, not only painted the picturesque view of the town, but was also inspired by dances of the girls in the village square for the finale of his Italian Symphony, which he calls Saltarello, an Italian leaping dance. But light and warmth are also reflected in this vibrant symphony in A major, which is on the programme of the opening concert of Klosters Music.
Spirit of optimism at the opening concert
The well-known work will be conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado, a recognised Mendelssohn expert. Together with the Freiburger Barockorchester, which will introduce itself one day later in Klosters, he has recorded the symphonies, the E minor Violin Concerto (with Isabelle Faust) and the 2nd Piano Concerto (with Kristian Bezuidenhout) by Mendelssohn Bartholdy on CD. The Spaniard was previously a guest at Klosters Music in 2020 with an all-Beethoven programme – his inspiring performance with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen is still fondly remembered. In the meantime, his international career has gained even more momentum. The Ring des Nibelungen he conducted at the Teatro Real in Madrid, his debut at La Scala in Milan with Don Giovanni in the spring and the upcoming production of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo in June at the Vienna State Opera speak for themselves. But the Munich Chamber Orchestra, a guest in Klosters for the first time, and the Swiss pianist Francesco Piemontesi, who has also not yet made a guest appearance at the festival, will also make the opening concert on Saturday something very special and spread a spirit of optimism.
High spirits and musical competition
But the second concert of this spectacular opening weekend also shines in the brightest colours. The Freiburger Barockorchester has put together a programme for Klosters Music that captivates the senses like a baroque feast and celebrates virtuosity, as in Antonio Vivaldi’s Bassoon Concerto. Normally, the “sex appeal” of this wind instrument is limited, especially in baroque literature, but here the well-known Italian composer makes a light-footed ballerina out of the rather clumsy member of the continuo section. Johann Sebastian Bach’s best-known harpsichord concerto in D minor also shows the solo instrument in its full range, especially since the Basel harpsichord professor Francesco Corti, one of the greatest virtuosos on this instrument, will play the solo part. Things get even wilder in the Concerto Grosso in D minor La Follia by Francesco Geminiani. The term originally comes from the Portuguese and stands for a fast dance that was always forbidden because of its sensuality. High-spirited exuberance or even madness is the translation. In this variation work on the 16th-century dance hit, two solo violins and a solo cello engage in a rousing musical contest that begins slowly but then builds to ecstasy. It is well known that kings can celebrate parties. A concert on the water, rocking on a boat, with strings and wind instruments, with the latest music and great instrumental effects – that’s what the English King George I wanted from the German composer George Friedrich Handel. From the palace in Whitehall, accompanied by Handel’s Water Music, he went to Chelsea for a dinner, and at 3 o’clock in the morning the court and orchestra returned by boat. In the Water Music, lyrical oboes meet blaring horns and radiant trumpets. This lively baroque festival is not to be missed.