(photo: Martin Deeley)

Chamber Music

The Berlin Philharmonic Piano Quartet plays Brahms, Bridge and Elfman

The Berlin Philharmonic Piano Quartet, founded in 1985 as a chamber music association of the Berliner Philharmoniker, is now continuing the successful concept of the ensemble in its second generation of players. The delightful line-up of piano and string trio has inspired many great composers to the present day. In addition to a classic of the genre, Johannes Brahms’ First Piano Quartet, the programme includes a work by the English composer Frank Bridge plus the German premiere of the Piano Quartet by Danny Elfman.

Philharmonic Piano Quintet:

Luis Esnaola violin

Matthew Hunter viola

Knut Weber cello

Markus Groh piano

Frank Bridge

Piano Quartet in F sharp minor “Phantasy Quartet”

Danny Elfman

Auftragswerk der Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker gemeinsam mit dem Lied Center of Performing Arts Lincoln, Nebraska

Johannes Brahms

Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, op. 25

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He is a musical crossover artist, immersed in every stylistic genre: Danny Elfman. Born in Los Angeles in 1953, he proved himself as a young man in a New Wave band as an all-rounder, singing and playing various instruments, before devoting himself to the world of film music in 1985. He wrote ingenious musical works of art for large orchestra for the imaginative films of director Tim Burton, which were often filled with absurdist humour, including the scores for such cinema evergreens as Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare before Christmas, Mars Attacks!, Batman,Batman Returnsand Corpse Bride. He collaborated with Madonna on the filming of Dick Tracy, based on the comic strip character, in 1990 (directed by Warren Beatty), and from 2004 composed the music for the cult series Desperate Housewives.

Elfman’s soundtracks for film and television have won more than 100 awards – including two Emmys and a Grammy. Influenced by such composers as Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Max Steiner and Nino Rota, he also wrote music for the legendary Cirque du Soleilas well as symphonic and concertante works – among them, his Serenada Schizophrana for orchestra and a violin concerto, which was premiered in 2017.

Elfman’s Piano Quartet, which will have its German premiere at this concert, was commissioned by the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation and the Lied Center of Performing Arts in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was premiered by the Berlin Philharmonic Piano Quartet in 2018 and subsequently recorded. Founded in 1985 and now in its second generation, the ensemble consists of violinist Luis Esnaola, violist Matthew Hunter, cellist Knut Weber and the renowned pianist Markus Groh. The fact that the ensemble not only performs works from the Classical and Romantic repertoire but also champions contemporary music and rediscovered little-known works becomes obvious from the programme for this concert. The performance of Elfman’s Piano Quartet will be preceded by the quartet’s interpretation of the richly melodic Phantasy Piano Quartet by the British composer Frank Bridge, who died in 1941 and is rarely performed in this country. The concert concludes with Johannes Brahms’s Piano Quartet No. 1, composed in 1861, which pushes forward forcefully with symphonic dimensions.

(photo: Martin Deeley)