Three ensembles of the Berliner Philharmoniker are celebrating special birthdays in the Chamber Music Prism series : The Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, the Ensemble-WienBerlin and the Scharoun Ensemble Berlin. The Philharmonic Wind Quintet, which starts off the series, owes its founding 25 years ago to a happy coincidence: Walter Seyfarth, clarinettist of the Berlin Philharmonic, was asked by the owner of the café he regularly visited to perform there with a wind ensemble. The musician persuaded four colleagues, flautist Michael Hasel, oboist Andreas Wittmann, horn player Fergus McWilliam and the former bassoonist Henning Trog to take part in this performance, and it turned out they blended so well, both personally and musically, that they decided to continue working together. For the anniversary concert on 13 October 2013, the quintet have invited a sixth man: the pianist Jon Nakamatsu. Together, they will play sextets by Francis Poulenc and Ludwig Thuille.
The ensemble-wienberlin is also a wind quintet. It was created in 1983 from an idea of Herbert von Karajan to bring together musicians from the Vienna and the Berliner Philharmonic. For 30 years now, principal wind players from the two orchestras have been performing together – with great success. Due to the formationʼs sonic and musical homogeneity, it is regarded as one of the top ensembles of its genre. For its concert in the Chamber Music Hall of the Philharmonie, it will offer a cross section of the wind quintet repertoire, ranging from works by Anton Reicha to Toshio Hosokawa. The Scharoun Ensemble Berlin, named after the architect of the Philharmonie, is the same age as the ensemble-wienberlin. Founded by members of the Berliner Philharmoniker for a performance of Schubertʼs famous Octet in F major, it sees itself as a chamber music group with a flexible line-up, from trio to a chamber symphonic ensemble. As contemporary music is an important aspect of its musical activities – in addition to the performance of the “classical” repertoire – , this anniversary concert also includes a premiere: As a “Happy Birthday”, Alexander Goehr has composed the chamber piece Zwischen den Zeilen.
Flutes, winds and more
The 14 Berlin Flutes also present a world premiere: Gotthard Odermattʼs Sternbilder-Suite. However, this piece remains the only original composition for this unusual ensemble. Founded on the initiative of the Berlin Philharmonicʼs principal flautist Andreas Blau in 1996, who brought together flute players from Berlinʼs major orchestras, they usually play arrangements of popular classical works. Their concert in the Philharmonie will include Emil Nikolaus von Reznicekʼs Donna Diana Overture, Engelbert Humperdinckʼs Abendsegen from the opera Hansel and Gretel and Antonio Vivaldiʼs Winter from The Four Seasons.
The oldest chamber music group of the orchestra
The Philharmonic Octet also offers an exciting programme which, in addition to Schubertʼs octet, also includes works by Franz Hasenöhrl and the Serbian composer Isidora Žebeljan. With a history that goes back over 70 years, the ensemble is one of the oldest chamber music groups of the orchestra. Its former members include such renowned instrumentalists as former concertmaster Siegfried Borries and principal cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. Even today, the octet contains prominent players, including 1st concertmaster Daishin Kashimoto, principal horn player Stefan Dohr and principal clarinettist Wenzel Fuchs.
Flute and harp
Principal flautist Emmanuel Pahud, 1st principal cellist Ludwig Quandt, cellist David Riniker and harpist Marie-Pierre Langlamet together with other musical guests do not form a permanent ensemble. Their concert in April 2014 is all about music for flute and harp in different chamber line-ups, from trio to sextet. The programme includes works by Hector Berlioz, Claude Debussy, and Jean-Philippe Rameau.