“A full, round tone, as if Oistrakh were standing on the podium. And every note hits home,” wrote the critic of the Tagesspiegel enthusiastically about Christian Tetzlaff’s debut with the Philharmoniker in June 1995 when the young violinist had given an impressive performance of Bartók’s Second Violin Concerto. Whenever Tetzlaff appeared with the Berliner Philharmoniker in the following years, he was the man for the violin concertos of the 20th century and New Music, such as Béla Bartók, Alban Berg, Unsuk Chin, or Jörg Widmann. For his most recent appearance at the Berlin Waldbühne in 2013, however, he showed his Romantic side and played the Violin Concerto in E minor by Felix Mendelssohn – with that unfussy, beguilingly beautiful, expressive tone that has made him world famous.
A passionate chamber musician
In the 2014/2015 season, Christian Tetzlaff has the opportunity as Artist in Residence to present the full range of his musical abilities – both as a soloist and as a chamber musician. To open his residency, he will play string quintets by Mendelssohn and Brahms with the Philharmoniker musicians Thomas Timm (violin), Máté Szücs, Naoko Shimizu (viola) and Bruno Delepelaire (cello). In a concert of the Orchestra Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker, audiences can hear him perform Mozart: Christian Tetzlaff is the soloist in the Violin Concerto in G major K. 216 and the C major Rondo for Violin and Orchestra. With seven members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, including principal clarinetist Wenzel Fuchs and principal horn Stefan Dohr, the violinist joins forces with the ensemble to perform octets by Franz Schubert and Jörg Widmann.
A thrilling soloist
There is of course also the “supreme discipline”, a solo recital, Christian Tetzlaff alone with his instrument: With a partita and a sonata from Johann Sebastian Bach's Sei Solo à Violino senza Basso accompagnato and the Sonata for Solo Violin by Béla Bartók, he spans the period from the Baroque to Modernism. The conclusion and climax of his Residency is the performance of the Violin Concerto by Johannes Brahms with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Sir Simon Rattle. The Hamburg-born violinist feels an especially strong connection with the composer Brahms. “He moves me very deeply. His music is completely real and fractured. [...] In Brahms, there are joyous outbursts, then he pulls the rug from under your feet,” he said in an interview.