The HambacherMusikFest was founded in 1997 under the artistic direction of the Mandelring Quartett and last year celebrated its tenth anniversary. The happy combination of the highest musical standards with the delightful local colour of the surrounding Palatinate countryside has allowed an attractive event to develop and flourish, enhanced by its own personal character. In 2007 the Mandelring Quartet has once again invited distinguished artists from Germany and abroad to perform during the week of the Feast of Corpus Christi in June and has put together a varied programme of chamber music ranging from the classical age to our own day.
This internationally acclaimed quartet, based in Neustadt on Germany’s Weinstrasse, has undertaken to present a concert schedule which offers, alongside the established repertoire, a constant flow of new discoveries. This mix is reflected in the ensemble’s discography, in which Schubert and Shostakovich rub shoulders with less familiar names such as Gernsheim and Dessoff in the series “Brahms and His Contemporaries”. It is to the Mandelring Quartet’s credit that since the 1990s the string quartets of Berthold Goldschmidt have been enjoying a renaissance after years of oblivion during the Nazi dictatorship, and that compositions by Georges Onslow, much appreciated during the 19th century, are now being heard more frequently. The Quartet’s successful collaboration with the audite label, based in Detmold, climaxed recently with the award of the German Record Critics’ Prize for its recording of Schubert’s towering late Quartet in G D 887 and his delightful early G minor Quartet D 173.
The HambacherMusikFest bears the Mandelring Quartet’s unique artistic imprint. At this eleventh Festival, lovers of chamber music will again be able to hear programmes combining classic works with masterpieces which are seldom performed in the concert hall because of their unusual instrumental combinations.
At the end of May 2007 Germany celebrates the 175th anniversary of the “Hambacher Fest” at which, in 1832, a demonstration by 30,000 people in front of Hambach castle formed the culmination of the first great civilian movement to call for a free and united Germany.
The programme of the 11th HambacherMusikFest from 6 to 10 June 2007 has been chosen to underline the importance of this historic jubilee by selecting works by composers who were forced to come to terms with the political and economic conditions prevailing in those days. Once again there will be eight concerts, three of them in the castle’s great hall, where the sequence will open on 6 June and end on 10 June with a gala performance. All these concerts, whether in the castle, in the benign, sunny context of two nearby vineries or the fine baroque church of St Jakobus, have come to exert a magnetic pull on audiences.
This year the Renn Quintet will also be participating in the variety and multiplicity of musical events on offer. This brass quintet introduces five instrumentalists renowned for their sparkling virtuoso programmes. The Mandelring Quartet and the Renn Quintet will be supported by some internationally distinguished soloists: the French pianist Claire-Marie LeGuay, the Israeli pianist Tomer Lev and the Dutch double-bass player Niek de Groot, all of whom also have extensive experience of performing chamber music.
The standard of the music on offer and the chance for the public to get really close to the artists are proving a great attraction, with the added delights of the idyllic location, the stylish setting of the castle and church and the charm of the Palatinate vineyards. The fact that people eagerly return year after year is evidenced by the great number of repeat bookings.
Information on the Festival is available on +49/6321/92043 and online . Information on the Mandelring Quartet and its concert schedules can be found on it’s website.