„Nielsen’s music sets itself apart from the prevailing bathos of Late Romanticism thanks to its linear melodies and overall transparency. In his compositional style he displayed skillful mastery of counterpoint and modern rhythm while incorporating elements of Gregorian chant and of folk music.
Accused at times of detached coolness, the composer once justified his approach with the following words: “Why do we have to go on proving ad nauseam that a beautifully sounding third is to be regarded as a gift of God, a fourth as a true experience, and a fifth as the utmost joy?”
Written in 1921/22, Nielsen’s Wind Quintet Op. 43 helps us partake in that very experience. Thinned down to the pure essentials, the scoring highlights the five instruments’ individual timbres. “At times they speak of one accord, then they irrupt into apparent disorder, then each one speaks for itself”, Nielsen explained. Certain instrumental combinations already sound almost exotic in the first movement.”
We likewise enter the circus ring with Sergey Prokofiev’s Quintet Op. 39 for the unusual combination of oboe, clarinet, violin, viola, and double bass. Prokofiev wrote this work in 1924 under the title “Trapeze” as a ballet for choreographer Boris Romanov and his itinerant dance troupe: music depicting “scenes from the circus life”. With its scoring reduced to the bare essentials, the work was designed to be readily performable in all sorts of circumstances and locations. Prokofiev, nevertheless, ended up composing a technically ambitious work, sporting a quirky character and “several rhythmic difficulties”, as he readily admitted himself.”( Excerpt from the liner notes by Matthias Corvin)
This impressive building, built in the Art Nouveau style in 1905 and located in the beautiful Eifel region (West Germany), is serving as a spectacular venue for the remarkable chamber music festival "SPANNUNGEN: Music in Heimbach's Hydroelectric plant" since 1998, in June of each year.
This musical event, where musicians of the highest caliber come together for a week of chamber music rehearsals and concerts, bears a title that truly reflects its underlying concept: "Tensions” is not only an allusion to the electric current normally produced in this hydroelectric installation, but also to the underlying musical tensions and contrasts in the festival’s music programs. The artists and their audience embark on a musical journey ranking from the Baroque era to contemporary music: each year we also première a new work. Surprising parallels often emerge in such programs, along with exciting musical contrasts and thrilling interplay between the hydropower station’s architecture, the picturesque surroundings and the music itself.
In Heimbach, it is always exciting to adapt to one’s musical partners. Yet the most important thing is to remain fundamentally and constantly open to one’s partners’ musical suggestions and leanings. This excellent working environment is capable of producing concerts and recordings of which all participants can be proud of. It is our wish and our desire that, listening to these CD’s, you will be able to relive the special atmosphere. Norbert Ely, former music editor at the Deutschlandfunk, once called our undertaking a true "grass roots initiative for chamber music”. In fact, this festival owes its very existence to the selfless dedication of quite a number of music and art lovers who are active members of the Association for the Promotion of the Arts in the County of Düren: from the very beginning, they enthusiastically continue to make this wonderful event possible. Without wide-ranging, varied engagement on the part of our sponsors – particularly on the part of our main sponsor and event partner INNOGY SE (also our host at the Hydroelectric plant), and on the part of our media partner, DEUTSCHLANDFUNK (which has supported this festival since its inception) – a chamber music event such as this one could not even be possible. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported us! Lars Vogt (Artistic Director)