Philharmonic Orchestra Würzburg – a premiere!

April 20+21st 2023 in the Concert Hall of Hochschule für Musik Würzburg the Orchestra of Mainfranken Theater Würzburg presented in their Symphonic cycle a contemporary Viennese encounter: Bruckner 4 (the ‚Romantic‘) meets Ehrenfellner 2 (‚La Petite‘). Sensational reviews in the local press and enthusiastic audience have welcomed Ehrenfellner’s 2nd symphony. Especially the extended bassoon-solo of the slow middle-movement – stunningly performed by Ivan Gerasimov, principal bassoon of the Philharmonic Orchestra – has won them all, musicians, audience and critics.

La Petite de Vienne

The title of Ehrenfellner’s Symphony No.2 is mocking irony, pointing out its small size of ‚only 3 movements‘ in ‚only 25min‘. Right from the beginning the listener finds himself in rush, drama and condensed musical material around the interval of a 4th. The main material is quoting Schönbergs famous 4th-steps motive of his Chamber Symphony No.1 op.9 – but only: here the story takes quite another turn. The condensed 1st mvt. reminds in its narration very much of Goethe’s Zauberlehrling: a fresh youngster jumping into the master’s magic room, reading fascinatedly a magic line, and then playing around with the fire until the very moment of a proper recapitulation: what a moment of success when the main-thema appears from every angle! The slow middle-movement contrasts very much this euphory. The lonlyness of an expanded bassoon-solo blossoms into the most longing-wanting-hoping moment of relieve, quoting thematically Wagner’s Karfreitags-Zauber from ‚Parsifal’…The Finale takes on with the wanting Hauptthema from mvt.1 again, and brings a proper solution. In a serene procession Ehrenfellner’s music walks to fulfillment, ending with a rather Shakespearian move into lightness…listen! scroll down, find the link and enjoy!

Ehrenfellner in Würzburg

A first encounter with Chamber Music dates back to 2013, when a stringtrio around the principal Cellist Matthias Steinkrauss premiered Ehrenfellner’s StringTrio op.22, ‚Variations on Impossibility‘ in the beautiful Toskanasaal of Würzburgs ‚Residenz‘. (check on YouTube: ehrenfellner – variations on impossibility!) Another 10 years have had to pass until the premiere of Ehrenfellner’s Symphony No.2 could happen. This builds up now to the premiere of Opera No.4 by Christoph Ehrenfellner, finally coming out in April 2024 at Mainfranken Theater Würzburg: Karl&Anna by L.Frank/R.Schimmelpfennig. Thus the Town of Würzburg will soon be – alongside with Mulhouse in France and Nordhausen in Thüringen – the 3rd town with acclaimed Ehrenfellner-Premieres in the Classical genres of Opera, Symphonic and Chamber Music.