Thursday 27 June 2024

1-2-3 Mendelssohn: the Engegård Quartet and friends celebrate the music of Felix and Fanny at their festival in Oslo

1-2-3 Mendelssohn: the Engegård Quartet and friends celebrate the music of Felix and Fanny at their festival in Oslo

If you fancy an Autumn weekend in Norway, then the Engegård Quartet is offering a deep dive into the chamber music and songs of Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn.

The Engegård Quartet [whom we heard recently at Conway Hall, see my review] has a tradition of holding single-composer mini-festivals in its home town of Oslo in Norway and this year, the festival is devoted to the Mendelssohns, Felix and Fanny. 1-2-3 Mendelssohn takes place at Nynorskens hus in Oslo from 8 to 10 November. The Engegård Quartet will be joined by an array of friends including the Elias String Quartet, mezzo-soprano Marianne Beate Kielland, pianist Ariel Lanyi, film maker Sheila Hayman, The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation’s Boys Choir and Nordberg String Orchestra, for a weekend of events focusing on the music of the two composers.

The opening concert features chamber music and lieder, including Fanny's masterpiece, Piano Trio in D minor and Felix's String Quintet No. 1, plus a piano duet version of the famous Wedding March. Saturday begins with a cafe concert devoted to songs without words, then in the afternoon it is the music both wrote in childhood including a performance of one of Felix's early string symphonies performed by young people and both quartets in Felix's Octet. And youth has it in the evening as the boys choir is joined by young people from Barratt Due Junior Ensemble with works including Hear my prayer and the cantata Verleih uns frieden.

Sunday morning sees music by both siblings performed by young people and woven into a story about Felix and Fanny. There is an afternoon salon concert featuring chamber music and songs, then the Norwegian premiere of Sheila Hayman's film Fanny: The Other Mendlessohn, and the festival closes with another feast of chamber music and song, including Ariel Lanyi in Felix's Fantasie in F sharp minor and the event concludes with the audience being invited to join in Hark the Herald Angels Sing! which has music adapted from Mendelssohn's Gutenberg Cantata.

Full details from the festival website.

And looking further ahead, if you fancy a December trip to Oslo, then the Engegård Quartet is collaborating with actress Gjertrud Jynge and visual artist Marianne Heske for A Shining Darkness at Norwegian Opera. This is a stage adaptation, by Gjertrud Jynge, of Jon Fosse's novel Septology which will feature chamber music ranging from old to modern and from popular to sacred, and a video painting by visual artist Marianne Heske visually accompanies the performance.

Details from Norwegian Opera's website.

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