Tuesday 4 July 2023

Zermatt Music Festival premières a new octet by David Philip Hefti

Scharoun Ensemble Berlin
Scharoun Ensemble Berlin
This year’s Zermatt Festival (running from Friday 8 to Sunday 17 September) will première a new octet entitled Des Zaubers Spuren (Traces of Magic) written by Swiss-born composer/conductor, David Philip Hefti, who is also the festival's composer-in-residence. The work will be performed by Scharoun Ensemble Berlin comprising members of the Berliner Philhamoniker; the ensemble founded the festival, based in the Swiss mountain resort of Zermatt, in 2005. 

Born in St Gallen, Hefti enjoyed good company as a student studying composition, conducting, clarinet and chamber music with the likes of Wolfgang Rihm, Cristóbal Halffter and Wolfgang Meyer in Zürich and Karlsruhe while he's a winner all the way it seems. For instance, he took top honours at such prestigious composition competitions as Gustav Mahler, Vienna, Pablo Casals, Prades and George Enescu, Bucharest. He was also awarded the Hindemith Prize, the Ernst von Siemens Composers' Prize and the Composer Award of the International Classical Music Awards. 

In respect of his new work for Zermatt this is what he had to say: "I have frequently performed Schubert's Octet as a clarinettist over the course of my music studies therefore I'm delighted that my new octet Des Zaubers Spuren written for the Scharoun Ensemble will punctuate the year when they're celebrating their 40th anniversary. 

"It has been a great privilege writing my new Octet, a companion piece to Schubert's Octet, for the Scharoun Ensemble and, therefore, I'm looking tremendously forward in working on and premièring the piece with such a gifted and gallant bunch of musicians especially in the peaceful, tranquil and spiritual setting that surrounds the famous Matterhorn". 

As composer-in-residence, Hefti will be featured in a variety of concert formats with a couple dedicated and performed by the young bloods from the Zermatt Music Academy. They'll play Hefti's Gallicinium: Musik zur vierten Nachtwache für Bläserquintett (Gallicinium: Music for the Fourth Night Watch for wind quintet) dating from 2021 and an earlier work entitled Monumentum for string sextet from 2014. 

Incidentally, the German première of Des Zaubers Spuren will take place at the Berlin Philharmonie on Wednesday 27 September thus marking the auspicious occasion of the Scharoun Ensemble's 40th anniversary. Cake all round! 

Full details from the Zermatt Festival website.

David Philip Hefti's concerts programmed for this year's Zermatt Festival 

Tuesday, 12th September, English Church
Zermatt Music Academy Ensemble
David Philip Hefti: Gallicinium: Musik zur vierten Nachtwache für Bläserquintett 

Wednesday, 13th September, St Mauritius-Pfarrkirche
Zermatt Music Academy Ensemble
David Philip Hefti: Monumentum für Streichsextett 

Friday, 15th September, St Mauritius-Pfarrkirche
Scharoun Ensemble 
Zermatt Festival Orchestra
David Philip Hefti (conductor)
Christiane Karg (soprano), Wolfram Brandl (violin/concert master), Jonathan Kelly (oboe)
Bach: Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor, BWV 1060.
David Philip Hefti: Des Zaubers Spuren, world première, commissioned by the Zermatt Festival for the Scharoun Ensemble
Alban Berg: Seven Early Songs (Sieben frühe Lieder) (c.1905-08), (arr. Reinbert de Leeuw). Early compositions of Alban Berg written while he was under the tutelage of Arnold Schoenberg.
Schubert: Symphony No. 4 in C minor, D 417 (the Tragic) 

Saturday, 16th September, St Mauritius-Pfarrkirche
David Philip Hefti (conductor)
Zermatt Festival Orchestra
Christiane Karg (soprano)
Mozart: Così fan tutte (arranged for wind octet by Andreas N. Tarkmann)
Berlioz: Les Nuits d'été (Summer Nights), Op. 7
Strauss: Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings 

Sunday, 17th September, Kapelle Riffelalp
Scharoun Ensemble 
Christiane Karg (soprano)
Zermatt Music Academy Ensemble
Beethoven: Wind Octet in E flat major, Op. 103
David Philip Hefti: Five Scenes for Gustav - String Quartet No.6  
Mahler: Rückert-Lieder for high voice and string quartet (arr. David Philip Hefti) 


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