Antonio Stradivari’s creative period came at the heyday of classical violin making in the Italian city of Cremona, and the craft reached a unique apex with the instruments from his workshop. Stradivari broadened the body of the violin and produced new types with fuller and longer curves, resulting in decisive improvements in sound. In the process, he and his sons Francesco and Omobono consistently maintained their high standards, making use only of materials of the best quality. Simply from their appearance – perfectly formed scroll and F holes, delicate wood grain and red-brown colour with a subtle yellowish tinge – most Stradivari violins are artworks of the very highest quality.
Thanks to generous support from the Stradivari Foundation Habisreutinger, the Philharmonic Stradivari Sextet Berlin is equipped exclusively with instruments made by the Cremonese master. At this concert, the unusual ensemble will present the instruments’ splendour in sound with the string sextet from Richard Strauss’s last opera Capriccio – a melancholy conjuring up of timeless beauty, composed in the terrible war years 1941-42. They will then perform Arnold Schoenberg’s string sextet Verklärte Nacht, based on Richard Dehmel’s poem of the same name: not programme music, strictly speaking, as the poet himself commented upon hearing the work for the first time: “At first my intention was to follow the motifs of my text in your composition, but very quickly I forgot all about that, I was so fascinated by the music.” The evening rounds off with Johannes Brahms’s String Sextet No. 1 in B flat major, op. 18; after its premiere Clara Schumann wrote in her diary: “It was beautiful beyond my expectations.”