Cello without borders. The motto of this year's Cello Masterclasses & Concerts from 25 September to 2 October 2016 in Kronberg is full of promise. In addition to the public masterclasses, which are expected to be attended by more than 150 cello students from every corner of the globe and will culminate in a concert by selected masterclass students, cello-related workshops, a violin-making exhibition and a lot more besides, the concerts will be one of the week's special highlights. Where else do teachers take up their cello and give an artistic performance?
For their evening recitals, Professors Frans Helmerson, Gary Hoffman, Ivan Monighetti and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt have chosen works that give a taste of the cello's full potential. Of course, the Romantic period will be well represented. However, Kronberg is also known as a place where artists rediscover composers, breathe new life into their works and make them the focus of their concert programmes. In Kronberg's Stadthalle at 19.00 on 30 September, for example, Ivan Monighetti and pianist Claudio Martínez Mehner will be performing Carl Heinrich Reinecke's Sonata No 1 in A minor Op 42 alongside Franz Schubert's "Arpeggione" sonata in A minor D 821. Reinecke used to be considered one of the most versatile and influential musical personae of the nineteenth century. His oeuvre is full of harmonic and melodic surprises but is today overshadowed by the works of his contemporaries.
At 20.30 it will be the turn of Frans Helmerson and pianist Plamena Mangova to demonstrate the cello's versatility. Between Gabriel Fauré's "Élégie" Op 24 and Frédéric Chopin's only cello sonata, a late work in G minor, Op 65, the musicians have a special musical treat in store with two compositions by Anton Webern. The 15-year-old cello student composed "Two pieces for violoncello and piano" as lyrical character pieces in the tradition of late Romantic salon works. In 1914 Webern took up the idea again in his "Three Little Pieces" but concealed it beneath an atonal structure. Played flageolet and pizzicato, sul ponticello or over the fingerboard, the cello leads audiences off into unexpected sound spheres. At 20.00 on 1 October in Kronberg's Stadthalle Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt and pianist Keiko Tamura will interrupt their musical journey between the Romantic period and Impressionism to stop off in the modern era. They will be performing Alfred Schnittke's Sonata No 1 between the "Fantasy pieces" Op 73 by Robert Schumann, Josef Suk's "Liebeslied" Op 7 and Claude Debussy's Sonata in D minor. This clever move will allow Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt to show the cello students sitting, as usual, in the front rows that the modern period can only be defined by reference to the past. Alfred Schnittke's compositional principle of blending musical styles from past centuries with contemporary techniques and experimental ideas is a wonderful example of that very concept and makes for an enthralling listening experience.
The master concert series will be launched in Kronberg's Johanniskirche at 20.00 on 29 September by Gary Hoffman and pianist David Selig with a programme of sonatas by Benjamin Godard, Ludwig van Beethoven and Frank Bridge. On the previous day, the North American cellist will be able to see and hear what has become of one of the many students from the cello masterclasses that he has been giving in Kronberg for a number of years. Marie-Elisabeth Hecker is now one of the best female cellists of the younger generation. At 20.00 on 28 September in the Johanniskirche she will be performing works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Igor Stravinsky and Johannes Brahms. She will be accompanied on the piano by Martin Helmchen, who is an Associate Professor for chamber music at Kronberg Academy.All concerts, public masterclasses and supporting events can be viewed on the Kronberg Academy website at www.kronbergacademy.de.
Concert tickets cost between €16 and €36 and can be purchased by telephone on +49 6173 783377 or from Kronberg Academy's ticket office at Friedrich Ebert Strasse 6 (Receptur). Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 15.00. Tickets may also be ordered by fax on +49 6173 783399, by email to karten(at)kronbergacademy.de or online at www.kronbergacademy.de.