20 Years Dresdner Sinfoniker
1998 – 2018
On November 1st, 2018, the Dresdner Sinfoniker celebrated their 20th birthday with the performance of three works by a wide variety of composers, soloists and ensembles. The anniversary concert, which took place during the Jazztage Dresden in the Erlwein Capitol, was a great success – Michael Ernst writes in the online edition of the “neue musikzeitung” of 4.11.2018 under the title ” There, Where it Hurts – 20 Years of Dresdner Sinfoniker”:
A world without borders, that is their goal. No insurmountable hurdles for people to make it difficult for others to move freely and think freely; but also, no genre attributions that define musical taboo zones and prevent innovations such as improvisations. (…) The legendary birth of the Dresdner Sinfoniker took place exactly two decades ago. It would hardly have been worth mentioning if this ensemble, made up of musicians from renowned German and European orchestras, had it not repeatedly attracted attention with its musical quality and specific content. Their common goal is a noble one: to touch people through the spirit of music and change the world for the better. (…) Saxony’s Minister of Art, Eva-Maria Stange summed it up in her eulogy for the concert as follows: The Dresdner Sinfoniker are “always there where it hurts”. Consequently, the Dresden Symphony Orchestra have conceived its jubilee concert to mark its twentieth anniversary, showcasing a diverse musical score including Frank Zappa, Andreas Gundlach and Enrico Chapela.
Zappa’s music, which has fascinated the Sinfoniker since their beginnings, was heard in collaboration with the “Universal Druckluftorchester” (literal translation- Universal Compressed Air Orchestra), an ingenious device comprised of wind and key instruments atop an Italian tricycle and operated by compressed air. Created by Peter Till, a craftsman and sound magician whose orchestral instruments are described as “Music on Wheels”. The music machine is operated via the driver’s seat creating an optical and acoustic orchestral delight, which for this concert also included a standing illuminated marimba. After a symphonic solo, the “Universal Druckluftorchester” performed two more parts from Zappa’s last great legacy “The Yellow Shark” from 1993 culminating in a dazzling performance.
The composer and keyboard virtuoso Andreas Gundlach, composed a concerto for synthesiser, piano and orchestra for Dresdner Sinfoniker’s jubilee and had to master challenges of a completely different kind. Titled “Quartüürium”, the composition suggests that it should be about fourths and four-tone melodic runs, but what then sounded (and what Gundlach alone had to master due to a sudden prevention of the pianist Andreas Boyde, who was originally intended for the piano part,) was a virtuoso firework. Sometimes a reciprocal driving of orchestral tutti and solo instrument, sometimes mysteriously jazzy impulses, then again tricky key runs to violent string sound as well as here and there also a seemingly hidden calm pole – as if in this premiere, which was met with great applause, the sound spectrum of the Dresden symphonist should have been depicted in its entirety.
The rock opera “Disidentes” by the Mexican composer Enrico Chapela, was premiered as the third piece of the evening. In keeping with Dresdner Sinfoniker’s history of combining contemporary music with socio-political themes, Chapela’s piece centres on the protest movement and massacre of students in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Mexico City, 2nd October 1968. A legacy to the hundreds of students that were murdered, the performance had a uniquely Mexican sound consisting of an orchestra, band and four soloists. Tenor singers Juanra Urrusti, Hazel Mendoza and Humberto Alarcón and Blazko Scaniglia (bass baritone) shone along-side electric guitarist and composer Enrico Chapel.
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