Ernst and J.S. Bach in Leipzig

dreamdancer

I am a Fama Tuba
Yesterday, I was riding home from the Bach-Festival in Leipzig after one week of concerts. The conluding event on Friday was "Ernst Horn and Guests". Here my impressions of this indeed very special evening.

The program consisted of 4 blocks of identical structure (Ernst mentioned that in his last letter to the fans): The first and the last piece were from J.S. Bach himself. A short “Nachklang”, a kind of musical reverberation composed by Ernst, succeeded the first piece. Next was a more extended and complicated composition on a Baroque poem (blocks 1, 2, and 3) or, at the end, on descriptions of organs from Bach, who was renowned for is thorough and critical testing of organs in his days. Then, Ernst played small sketches he made up by himself. The second last part of each block was another short piece by Ernst on the motif with the keys b-a-c-h.

The evening started with the c sharp minor prelude and ended with the corresponding fugue from the “Well Tempered Clavier”. Though the playing does not look as spectacular as in, e.g., “Mirror men”, these pieces are not easy to play. The fugue has 5 voices (remember, you have only 2 hands, so these pieces find their way into piano contests as in the example here (start at 01:25): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KraWAYSWIAI&feature=related). Ah, and Ernst played them so beautifully! Ferenc Kölcze, the violinist, played another fugue (from the g minor sonata). Three voices on 4 strings - now how do you do that? This is one of the most difficult pieces for violin! Ferenc’s interpretation was so intense and technically perfect that nobody in the audience could resist its magic.

Ernst proved once more his great skill for arrangements setting the other Bach pieces for the ensemble, the “guests”: Ferenc Kölcze (violin), Jost Hecker (cello), and perhaps most important Sabine Lutzenberger (vocals). Those that come first to my mind are a canon from the “Kunst der Fuge” (The Art of Fugue) put for violin and cello and, of course, the aria “Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen” (here the best example I found on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6YTkzUCm4w). It was the first time I got the chance to experience Sabine live, and I was deeply touched. She is a very precise singer, straight, with really beautiful phrasings.

It is also Sabine’s voice that carries the audience through Ernst’s compositions. It is her who grabs Ernst’s intention and communicates it. The pieces I liked most were the arias “Die Lieb ist Leben und Tod” (“Love is life and death”) after a poem of G.R. Weckherlin and “Das Bildnis Gottes” (“God’s image”) after poems from A. Silesius. The former was rather chromatic but with emphasizing melismas giving an interesting contrast and a conciliatory harmonic resolution in the last stanza. The latter one was more romantic in structure and I got simply carried away. So there is no more to say. Personally, I felt these pieces were too short. I could just get the idea the moment they ended. But I would have loved to dwell on them longer and memory fades too quickly alas.

Okay, I know this evening was to be more about Bach than about Ernst. But I have had quite some Bach in my life, now I want more Ernst! This holds a bit also for the short reverberations, though these are of course only meant to be echoes. In my opinion the first two did not receive the attention they deserved, because somehow the tension was allowed to break down after the Bach piece. It worked much better after the 20 minutes break in the second half of the concert. This should be one more reason to repeat this performance (which was recorded btw).

Ernst does not take himself too serious. His funny sketches about pop arrangements of classical music (he did the sampling live on stage), corporate identity (having the audience participate by singing “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” - we were not really good, though), about posing “artists” with a pseudo-classical background (After the show, tigress pointed out that it reminded her a bit of Rowlf like here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7wnQw1oW1E&feature=related I think this reminiscence might have not been unintended), and quacking S. Germanotta (no, I will not spoil this one) were simply hilarious.

Now a short word about the b-a-c-h pieces: Most of them were rather calm and modest, almost guarded. The third one however really rocked. A big part of that was probably owed to Jost Hecker. He later played the Bourree from the Cello suite no. 3 very nicely - I liked the tempo, not too fast and not too slow. But in b-a-c-h 3, he got the command from Ernst to “do whatever you want”, and Jost did truly shine with his big strength of improvisation. It was just fun to watch him play. And to listen, too - I never knew what kind of sounds you can get out of a cello (without preparation). Maybe the connection between Ernst and Jost is showing here.

At the end the audience was totally enthusiastic and the four musicians could not leave without an encore, which was “Quia respexit humilitatem” from the Magnificat in D major. And I really hope that there will be more performances of this concert - I heard several people say that they would like to hear this again. And of course more people than the about 150 in Leipzig deserve to share this experience.
 

pandora84

I am a Darkstar
Thank you very much DD for sharing your impressions. :ymhug:
It sounds really great and I hope they will perform that concert again and I can see it.
 

dreamdancer

I am a Fama Tuba
you are very welcome :ymhug: I hope as well that I will get another chance to see and hear this performance again. All of the people involved were really happy with it, I think. It would be a shame not to repeat this concert.
 

Lady Ash

I am a Darkstar
I want to experience this, too! Thank you DD, for taking the trouble of writing all this down. Bad as they usually are, have any youtube videos of this popped up yet?
Oh, to have seen Sabine singing live *dream away* . And since last month's "Mirror Men" I am more than ever convinced of his musical genius ... not to mention that I like his dry humour.

Oh, c'mon, Ernst, before whoever lurks on the far side of the mountains will come to get you, why not do another concert in a nice northern location? Pleaaaze?
 

tigress

I am a Darkstar
dreamdancer... again, this is really very well observed and beautifully written. Thanks for the effort! It was lovely to kind of experience the night again. :)

dreamdancer said:
... , about posing “artists” with a pseudo-classical background (After the show, tigress pointed out that it reminded her a bit of Rowlf like here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7wnQw1oW1E&feature=related I think this reminiscence might have not been unintended.
I must admit that I love Rowlf :x and Ernst sometimes went for a similar kind of humor.
May I misuse your thread for one additional Rowlf-piece ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apqR_UItzQw
 

dreamdancer

I am a Fama Tuba
you may - Rowlf is the greatest dog to play piano ever! :ymhug: I agree about the similarities in humor. :D And thank you tigress and Ash for your nice comments
 

Rhiannon

I am a Darkstar
Thanks for that, well, we would have liked to go, but it is just too far....maybe will be easier to go to events in Leipzig when my friend Christine hopefully moves there soon...! I can't find any videos on youtube so far either, at least when searching 'Ernst Horn Bachfest'.
 

dreamdancer

I am a Fama Tuba
I saw people taking photos but I did not recognize anybody recording a video with a mobile. What I know is that Ernst recorded the event himself, since my DH ask him about it. But as we know that Ernst does not let out anything less than perfect, I doubt that he will post it somewhere himself...
 

RaBBitFan

I am a Darkstar
thanks for the Alms and report.. ALice you tell your DH that I am gonna talk to the Igor techs.. in a dude sweater and take them all bowling :p
 

RaBBitFan

I am a Darkstar
o.0 wizard!
if I were to design a DL tarot deck the photo with his arms above his head ready to crash onto the piano... that would be my Magician card..

I was told by my Dh that if he won the lotto (millions of dollars) he would clone me a midget Ernst Horn complete with brown cape... [-x [-x [-x [-x

I on the other hand am thrilled to see Sabine and Ernst no matter what is worn.. :D :D
and grateful to DD for the report.
 
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