Musical Summer In Europe

Schwerin Founded by Heinrich der Lowe in 1160, the city today is worthy of its eight-century tradition. It abounds in vestiges – proudly and understandingly nurtured – of a history that is comprehensive in what regards the cultivation of music, too. The notes that I jot down greedily throw into relief the city's artistic life, enhanced by significant bygone moments. The birth certificate of the local instrumental band was signed on June 17, 1563 when David Kohler was hired to become its first Kapelmeister. A brief look into the story of past events shows that in the 17th and 18th centuries this Mecklenburgische Staatskapelle fully contributed to the establishment of orchestral classicism thanks to the activity of concert masters and composers like Johann Fischer, Adolph Carl Kuntzen or Johann Wilhelm Hertel. The proximity to Hamburg equally facilitated influences from such personalities as Reinhard Keiser and Johann Mattheson. In 1836, the inauguration of a Hoftheater marked a new stage in the musical activity of the city, were we to mention only the presence of composers Friedrich von Flotow, author of a highly melodic piece, Martha, known in Romania too. The local orchestra continued to gain prestige exemplified by the collaboration with soloists Clara Schumann or Joseph Joachim, and with Johannes Brahms often performing as conductor.The Schwerin tradition of great musical feasts dates back as early as to the 18th century. Later, in 1840, the second North German Festival took place, directed and organized by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. The present Musical Spring of Schwerin stands therefore chances to become an ever more important event. The first condition thereof, that of an inspiring background, is fulfilled. On the other hand, the seriousness and passionate dedication of local musicians cannot fail to attract national and international attention.We were pleased to find here a Romanian conductor in action, Horia Andreescu, who garnered a prestigious prize awarded by the critics of the contemporary music festival in Berlin. In parallel with his conducting activity at the Ploiesti Philharmonic, Horia Andreescu is a standing guest of the Mecklenburgische Staatskapelle Orchestra. It is obvious that the artistic and human qualities of the Romanian musician have a strong, powerful influence on the quality of the music performed by the orchestra, and on the sensitivity of the Schwerin public. We can speak of a considerable spiritual bond between the conductor, the orchestra and the audience, going beyond a mere stopover by some musician, be he highly competent, at the helm of an orchestra. This conductor is body and soul committed to the artistic elevation of the team, and the programmes are well-thought out (together with Reiner Lorenz) in order to offer a wide artistic range of both classical and romantic inspiration, as well as most daring incursions into contemporary music. At the same time, the repertory is drawn up according to a more comprehensive vision that takes into account the specific resources of the orchestra, and its obvious evolution in time.We should not forget that the fruitful collaboration of Horia Andreescu with the Schwerin orchestra allows the East German public to become familiar with various assets of the Romanian classical and contemporary musical heritage. Thus the conductor successfully wielded the baton before the Kapelle for works by Corneliu Dan Georgescu and Aurel Stroe. (The latter's Concert for clarinet, soloist Aurelian Octav Popa, was deemed one of the most attractive events of the Berlin contemporary festival.) I could then listen to the Schwerin orchestra rendering a colorful and suggestive version, rigorously balanced, of George Enescu's Rhapsody in A major, dedicated to the international celebration of the Romanian composer's centennial. Suggestive and poised, these are the basic adjectives that can be attached to Horia Andreescu's interpretative contribution. Clarity of the score presentation, acute stylistic sense, and a certain organic elegance of the phrase characterized the luminous rendition of the Symphony by Johann Wilhelm Hertel, cutting across a mere rigorous approach of a classic of Mecklenburg music. In Till Eulenspiegel by Richard Strauss (which showed that the orchestra still has a tone to climb to fame) measure, moderation prevailed over the picturesque. The same went for Pictures from an exhibition by Mussorgski where the strolls from one picture to another were so poised in tempo that they reminded of Celibidache's willed deliberation. Andreescu had the opportunity to give excellent accompaniment to the soloist contribution of a good Japanese cellist, Mari Fujiwara (Dvorak), and a well-known but today modest violinist from East Germany, Egon Morbitzer (Bruch).The importance of Andreescu's presence - unanimously applauded with downright moving affection by the audience - in the Schwerin Spring is more fully evidenced if we mention the splendor of a series of lieder by Mozart offered by the great tenor Peter Schreier in the same festive atmosphere of the city's beautiful theater. We should also say a word about the special backdrop of the chamber concerts. They were hosted by the Throne Hall of the local castle where we listened to a sensitive young pianist from Weimar, Gerlinde Otto, and to a homogenous wind quintet of the High Music School of Berlin. Romania literara, 1981

by Alfred Hoffman