Works by Hector Berlioz, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Jean-Philippe Rameau and Sebastian Currier
Already in primeval times magic powers were attributed to flute and harp. By playing on an instrument similar to a harp, Orpheus appeased the gods of the underworld. Other cultures also believed in the magical power of the sound of the flute: ancient Egyptian priests heard in it the voice of the goddess Isis; in India it was ascribed to the deity Krishna. As substantiated by numerous figurative representations of angels strumming harps and playing flutes, Christianity soon made these pagan myths its own. That – what is more – the Biblical king David is said to have played the harp may be one of the reasons that this instrument enjoyed particular popularity in court circles. Finally, King Frederick II of Prussia proved that the flute too had always been a royal instrument. When composers in the modern era wrote works for flute and harp, they always did so in the galant style that can be heard in Mozart’s concerto for these two instruments. Later, the impressionists had a special preference for the tender and ethereal sound of flute and harp, as memorialised by Georges Bizet in the prelude to the third act of his opera Carmen. In this instance Bizet also proved that the flute and harp sound particularly beautiful against a backdrop of full string sounds. And that’s why two celli will join the two flutes and two harps in this chamber music concert with members of the Berliner Philharmoniker. This results in works by Rameau, Berlioz, Debussy, Ravel and Currier in all conceivable constellations, be it two harps in the pieces by Ravel and Currier, Debussy’s virtuoso Syrinx for solo flute, Rameau’s Trio Sonata for Flute, Cello and Harp or finally David Riniker’s adaptations of Debussy’s Bilitis Chansons and Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune for two flutes, harps and celli.