Alice Sara Ott

Alice Sara Ott
Alice Sara Ott (Photo by Ester Haase)

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Johannes Brahms: Double Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor – Vilde Frang, Nicolas Altstaedt, Chaarts Chamber Artists (4K Ultra High Definition)

Accompanied by the Chaarts Chamber Artists, the Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang and the German-French cellist Nicolas Altstaedt perform Johannes Brahms' Double Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor, Op.102. The concert was recorded at Muri Festsaal, Kanton Aargau, Switzerland, on September 25, 2016.

Brahms wrote the Double Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor, Op.102, during the summer of 1887, and conducted the premiere himself on October 18 in Cologne, with Joseph Joachim and Robert Hausmann as, respectively, the violin and cello soloists. Brahms had just turned 20 when he met Joseph Joachim (1831-1907), already a celebrated violinist at 22 and destined to be acclaimed also as a composer, conductor, and educator. It was Joachim who commended his new friend to Robert and Clara Schumann, thereby assuring his celebrity. For 30 years the two were fast friends despite the distance usually separating their power bases: Joachim's in Berlin, Brahms' in Vienna finally. "Jussuf", however, had a weakness – obsessive jealousy of his wife Amalie, whom he accused of adultery in 1881 with his (and Brahms' and Dvorák's) publisher, Fritz Simrock. Brahms disbelieved, and said so in a consolatory letter to Frau Joachim. During divorce hearings she produced this letter in court, and the judge agreed publicly with its contents.

As a result, Joachim cut off communications with Brahms for six years, although he continued to play the composer's music. Finally, seeking to repair the damage, Brahms composed the "Double" Concerto as a peace offering; the effort was successful, although their camaraderie of former years was never fully restored. In addition to composing the "Thun" sonatas of 1886 for violin and cello, Brahms had been studying Baroque concerti grossi, so the sound of string instruments was in his ear. This Concerto would be his last orchestral work.

From the Swiss vacation resort of Hofstetter on Lake Thun, he wrote to several persons about his "strange flight of fancy... for fiddle and cello". But first he sent a postcard to Joachim, received on July 19, 1887, by which time Brahms had completed the work and was copying solo parts. When Joachim responded enthusiastically by return mail, Brahms asked him to arrange a play-through with Robert Hausmann, who had introduced the Op.99 Cello Sonata a few months prior; Brahms himself would accompany on the piano. This took place at Clara Schumann's home in Baden-Baden in September (her diary notes that "Brahms and Joachim have spoken to one another again after years of silence"). Although neither the Cologne premiere nor the first Vienna performance was a success, the Concerto finally entered the repertory, even if it never enjoyed the success of his violin concerto or the two for piano.

The opening Allegro (A minor; 4/4) begins with the kernel of the main theme, then a cello "recitative", and finally the kernel of a more lyrical second theme. Next, the violin has a turn, though the cello intrudes after five bars, following which the orchestra finally gets to play a 44-bar exposition of themes already previewed. Soloists perform the traditional second exposition, but there is not, in the development or recapitulation, a lot of unison playing. Thoughout, the soloists are not stars with a supporting cast, but merely leading characters in a primarily orchestral drama. Unison passages appear in the A and A' sections of the sweetly autumnal, folk-flavored, song-form Andante in D major (3/4 time). The solo instruments dovetail or briefly overlap in an F major middle section, until a magical enharmonic transition leads back to unison playing.

The lighthearted but "not too lively" rondo (vivace non troppo) has repeating A sections with a staccato-marcato rhythm that wrong-headed playing can accelerate and by so doing adulterate. The B section is broader, with chords on the cello that the violin echoes. The C section, in F major, is similarly broad but longer, before the A material returns one more time, with a jaunty tilt of the cap and a kind of jig – all the more entertaining in light of Brahms' short stature, bushy beard and, by then, Santa-like corpulence.

Source: Roger Dettmer (

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

♪ Double Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor, Op.102 (1887)

i. Allegro
ii. Andante
iii. Vivace non troppo

Vilde Frang, violin
Nicolas Altstaedt, cello

Chaarts Chamber Artists
Gregory Ahss, concertmaster

Muri Festsaal, Kanton Aargau, Switzerland, September 25, 2016

(4K Ultra High Definition)

Vilde Frang was unanimously awarded the Credit Suisse Young Artist Award in 2012 and made her debut with the Vienna Philharmonic under Bernard Haitink at the Lucerne Festival.

Highlights among her recent and forthcoming solo engagements include performances with Berlin Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, London Symphony, Concertgebouw Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Orchestre de Paris, Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Sydney Symphony and the NHK Symphony in Tokyo, with conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Manfred Honeck, Mariss Jansons, Herbert Blomstedt, Daniel Harding, Vladimir Jurowski, Christoph Eschenbach, David Zinman, Leonard Slatkin, Esa Pekka Salonen, Yuri Temirkanov and Sir Simon Rattle.

She regularly appears at festivals in Salzburg, Verbier, Lucerne, London Proms, Rheingau, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lockenhaus, Prague Spring Music Festival and George Enescu Festival Bucharest. As soloist and in recital, Vilde has performed at venues such as the Concertgebouw, Musikverein, Wigmore Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Tonhalle Zurich, Bozar Brussels, Rudolfinum, Tchaikovsky Hall, in Vancouver Recital Series, Boston Celebrity Series, San Francisco Performances, and at Carnegie Hall.

Vilde Frang is an exclusive Warner Classics artist and her recordings have received numerous awards, including the Edison Klassiek Award, Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, Diapason d'Or and a Gramophone Award.

Born in Norway in 1986, Vilde was engaged by Mariss Jansons at the age of twelve to debut with Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.

She studied at Barratt Due Musikkinstitutt in Oslo, with Kolja Blacher at Musikhochschule Hamburg and Ana Chumachenco at the Kronberg Academy. She has also worked with Mitsuko Uchida as a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship winner 2007, and was a scholarship-holder 2003-2009 in the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation.

Vilde Frang performs on a Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume from 1864.


Renowned worldwide for his musical integrity and effortless virtuosity German-French cellist Nicolas Altstaedt (b. 1982) is one of the most sought after and versatile artists today. As a soloist, conductor and artistic director of he enthralls audiences with repertoire spanning from the baroque to the contemporary.

At the beginning at the 2017-2018 season he performed the highly acclaimed Finnish Premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen's new cello concerto under the baton of the composer at the Helsinki Festival. He will be Artist in Spotlight at the Concertgebouw in 2017-2018 and Artist in Residence 2018-2019 at the NDR Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, where is going to perform with Krzysztof Urbanski, Hannu Lintu and Christoph Eschenbach.  Later on he will be touring major european venues with the SWR Orchestra with Teodor Currentzis, the BBCSO, La Chambre Philharmonique with Emanuel Krivine and the Amsterdam Sinfonietta. Further engagements include debuts performances with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony in Suntory Hall, Finnish Radio Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin with Juraj Valcuha, the Scottish Chamber as Soloist and conductor, Orchestre National de Belgique, Hongkong Sinfonietta and Les Violons du Roy as well as returning to the Deutsche Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin with Robin Ticciati.

Awarded the Credit Suisse Young Artist Award in 2010, he gave a highly acclaimed performance of the Schumann concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel at the Lucerne Festival. Since then he has performed worldwide with orchestras such as the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne- and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras working with conductors like Sir Roger Norrington, Andrew Manze, Lahav Shani, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Neville Marriner, Vladimir Fedosseev, Leif Segerstam, Dmitri Slobodeniouk, Alexander Shelley, Fabien Gabel, Joshua Weilerstein, Gustavo Gimeno, Giovanni Antonini and Andrea Marcon amongst many others.

In recital, Nicolas performs solo and with partners Fazil Say and Alexander Lonquich. He will tour both Europe and the US and will visit Istanbul, London Wigmore Hall, Bozar, Tonhalle Zurich, Koerner Hall Toronto, Theatre des Champs-Elysées, Amsterdam Concertgebouw and New York Carnegie Hall amongst others.

In Autumn 2017 Nicolas toured  Australia extensively as part of a Musica Viva Recital tour with Aleksandar Madzar.

As a chamber musician, Nicolas regularly plays with Janine Jansen, Vilde Frang, Andreas Ottensamer, Pekka Kuusisto, Antoine Tamestit, Lawrence Power, Jonathan Cohen and the Quatuor Ébène performing at Salzburg Mozart and Summer Festival, Verbier, Utrecht, BBC Proms, Lucerne, Gstaad, Musikfest Bremen, Schleswig-Holstein, Rheingau and Stavanger.

In 2012 Nicolas has been chosen by Gidon Kremer to become his successor as the new artistic director of the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival and in 2014, Adam Fischer asked him to follow in his footsteps as Artistic Director of the Haydn Philharmonie, with whom he regularly performs at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Esterházy Festival and will tour both China and Japan in the next season.

Nicolas premieres new music and performs with composers like Thomas Ades, Jörg Widmann, Thomas Larcher, Matthias Pintscher, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and Fazil Say. He has commissioned the pianist/composer Hauschka as part of this season as Artistic Director of "Viva Cello" Festival in Liestal in 2016 inspired by a film script by Federico Fellini as well composers Sebastian Fagerlund, Thomas Larcher, Bryce Dessner and Helena Winkelman for new cello concertos.

Nicolas' recent recording of CPE Bach Concertos on Hyperion with Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen received the BBC Music Magazine Concerto Award 2017. This year, he released a Recital CD with Fazil Say on Warner. Previous recordings of cello concerti by Haydn, Schumann, Ligeti, Shostakovich and Weinberg have been acclaimed worldwide.

Nicolas Altstaedt was a BBC New Generation Artist 2010-2012 and a recipient of the "Borletti Buitoni Trust Fellowship" in 2009. He plays a Giulio Cesare Gigli cello, Rome around 1760.


Chamber Orchestra CHAARTS (CH – code of Switzerland and Chamber Artists "performers of chamber music"), despite its quite short history, has become a very significant phenomenon on the European music scene.

CHAARTS is a collective of like-minded people, outstanding musicians of Europe, who gather together to perform concerts. In the idea of CHAARTS is the concept of solo, chamber and orchestral performance tradition.

The level of musicians allow the orchestra work without one particular conductor. Each project is conducted under the supervision of team members, and all the members also perform as soloists.

The orchestra includes such famous musicians as Alexander Sitkovetsky (England/Russia), Corinne Chappell (England), Bozo Paradzhik (Croatia), Razvan Popovici (Romania), Kiril Kravtsov (Russia/Germany) and others.

In two concerts of the season CHAARTS have performed with such outstanding soloists as Martha Argerich, Oliver Schneider, Gilles Apap, Aleksey Igudesman, Alina Pogostkina, Benjamin Schmidt, Nikolai Znaider, Patricia Kopachinskaya, Sol Gabetta, Jens Peter Maintz, Thomas Demenga, Maurice Steger and others.


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