Speaking through the violin

Wednesday, February 17, 2021 – 8:15 pm – Christian Tetzlaff and Kiveli Dörken live at the HOUSE FESTIVAL

Photo that shows Christian Tetzlaff Dsc 8351 C Georgia Bertazzi.

He actually enjoys travelling, especially now that his children are getting older. This makes the coronavirus lockdown a particular challenge for Christian Tetzlaff. All the better that he will be joining us live at the first HOUSE FESTIVAL in the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden – at least on our screens. Together with his accompanist Kiveli Dörken, Tetzlaff will be interpreting César Franck's Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 8:15 pm. For years, Christian Tetzlaff has been one of the most sought-after violinists in the classical music world. In May 2015, after his Beethoven Violin Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Harding, The Guardian wrote: "The greatest performance of the work I've ever heard."

Concerts with Tetzlaff often become a vital experience for both performer and audience as familiar pieces suddenly appear in a completely new light. He maintains an unusually broad repertoire and was giving around 100 concerts a year before the pandemic-enforced hiatus.

Son of Hamburg

Besides his consummate violin skills, what makes the musician – who was born in Hamburg in 1966 and now resides with his family in Berlin – so unique are three things above all: he takes the musical score literally, he understands music as a language, and he reads the great works as stories that reflect vital insights. What sounds completely natural here is actually a somewhat unusual approach in everyday concert life.

“When Christian Tetzlaff seeks to realize the musical score as deeply as possible – without concern for a “performance tradition” and without indulging in the frequently-encountered technical simplification measures – then the well-known great works often reveal themselves with a new clarity and sharpness. As a violinist, Tetzlaff tries to disappear behind the work – and this, paradoxically, makes his interpretations very individual,” reads a text about him.

Tetzlaff was to have last played in the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden with the Berliner Philharmoniker at the 2020 Easter Festival. Shortly before the Festival, the first lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic began.

Marcel Proust was enthusiastic

César Franck had a career in Paris that was similar to that of his slightly younger contemporary Bruckner in Vienna. Until the end of the Second French Empire in 1871, he was only known as an organist and church musician. His students reverently called him "Père Franck" and venerated him as the renewer of the French organ school.

In all the movements of his A-major Violin Sonata, he makes delicate cross-references to a motif of falling thirds in the first movement. Many Parisian music lovers were enthusiastic about this compositional fabric – not least the writer Marcel Proust. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why this sonata is in “the best of hands” with Christian Tetzlaff: the violinist speaks with and through his instrument. Such fine textures, which fascinate both the musician and the writer, become, in his performances, a very special kind of “reading.” Questions can be asked in advance or live, by e-mail at hausfestspiel@festspielhaus.de, via direct message or as a comment on the Facebook live stream, or in the comment fields on Vimeo and Youtube.

Updated: 3/15/2021