Beethoven, Haydn, Brahms, Schostakowitsch, + N.N.

Pianotrio and Song

Supported by:

Shostakovich’s novel suite op. 127 for soprano and piano trio combines the genre of the piano trio with a cycle of songs to form an instrumentation and genre synthesis. Dreams of love and traumatic fear, the realization of one’s own insignificance and the expectation of death only find support in the last song An die Musik, for which the full musician cast of the piano trio is saved. Before doing this, the instruments take turns in dialogue with the singer, first as a soloist, then in a duet, whereby the instrumentation often results from the content of the songs.
Shostakovich combines an idea of ​​the 20th century – the emancipation of the accompanying instruments – with two traditional genres from the 19th century. A new order between word, tone and form arises, and at the same time reminds one of the familiar.
This song cycle inspires a project with concert programs for piano trio and voice: a selection of more than 600 folk song arrangements by Haydn and Beethoven, arranged song cycles by Brahms and others, and new commissioned compositions for this project.

Mahler + Eötvös, Hosokawa, Currier

The Song of the Earth –
Dialogue of the diverse

Gustav Mahler’s Song of the Earth, a work about Life and Death, Youth and Old Age, Day and Night, combines western composition with an unfamiliar, far-eastern soundworld. We have adopted the Mahlerian concept Dialogue of the Diverse as the central focus of the planned concert project. The programming concept is certainly unique: it was inspired by the twin global perspective which Mahler wove throughout his Song of the Earth, even at structural level. As well as the German-Chinese ensemble which will play Mahler’s richly scored orchestral work in the Second Half, the First Half of the concert will feature several world premieres performed by solo instrumentalists – each of which will be written specifically for the project, making reference to Mahler’s work, both in content and compositional process. We have been especially fortunate in securing top-class soloists (Berlin Philharmonics) and composers from Japan, Hungary, Israel, Germany, France and the USA. They are undertaking the challenge of interpreting Mahler’s messages anew, through the means of solo music. Unfortunately, the concerts in China had to be postponed due to the pandemic. The whole project is conceived as an initial concert series which leaves other possibilities wide open; a second season is being planned.


All world premieres are commissioned by the Junge Kammerphilharmonie Berlin as part of the concert series Das Lied von der Erde - Dialogue of Diverses based on an idea by Sarah van der Kemp.

Solo Englishhorn


Still ist mein Herz und harret seiner Stunde


"For me, The Song Of The Earth is one of the most important works of western music. It takes on the text of a Chinese poet that was translated into German, and through this, Mahler’s world of eastern music is expressed. In the final movement, ‘Abschied’, the people crossing the borderline to and fro between this world and the other, are deeply expressed by the music. In ancient Chinese philosophy, the borderlines between this world and the other, as well as between dream and reality, are ambiguous and chaotic. From this eastern world view, I have considered music to be the instrument that connects this world and the other, and have carried out my compositional activities on the understanding that musicians are shamans that connect these two worlds. In this solo piece, a characteristic motif of the oboe in Abschied is often used. My music is a sonic calligraphy of time and space, and the english horn was the perfect instrument to express my calligraphic line and frequent use of portamentos and appoggiaturas. The title derives from the text of Abschied."

Solo violin


Adventures of the Dominant Seventh Chord


"In Western classical music, there is hardly a more typical chord than the dominant seventh chord. It is typical because it occurs frequently. And that's because he has a special job: to prepare a degree. When you hear this chord, you can be sure that the phrase will be completed. Or not yet! Maybe follows a so-called fallacy, which misleads the listener with a smile? In "Adventures of the Dominant Seventh Chord", I did not want to mislead anyone, maybe just surprise the good old Dominant episodes by making a big leap each time we move from Western European culture to Eastern European. The dominant seventh chord prepares for a quiet conclusion, but something quite different follows: a dance music in the style that folk musicians play in Transylvania. There are two cultures of music juxtaposed in my play, but I do not think there is a conflict between them - just a virtual, in this case, audible border. They are just different. The western is composed and recorded and interpreted by the musicians. The eastern folk musician, on the other hand, usually can not read music, he learns by ear, and soon after that it is "his music." The violinist plays the main role in Transylvanian dance music. He plays the melody, the others deliver rhythmic and harmonic elements. In the "Adventures of the seventh chord" fast and slow dances alternate. In between, the dominant seventh chord appears quite often - always in a different form. If he looked in the mirror, he would barely recognize himself, for his intervals have become bigger or smaller: constant surprise, a real adventure."

Solo harp


Vom Leid der Erde

Sonata for harp 
1. Der Affenmensch heult nach seinem Windgott
2. Gaia’s Abschied von ihrer irdischen Harfe


"It is hard for me to contemplate Das Lied von der Erde today without some reference to the obvious: Mahler initially wanted to call his work Das Lied vom Jammer der Erde, and today’s ‘Jammer der Erde’ has become a primary fact of contemporary life. As a teenager Mahler’s music spoke to me with some special urgency, and it’s shocking to think how much of our destruction has been wrought since then – quickly checking a NOAA CO2 graph, I see that almost two thirds of civilization’s whole increase in CO2 since industrialization’s start has come. Now I understand that urgency, which I still feel, differently. Today I see Mahler’s largest works as personal expressions of Haeckelian Monism, which I see as holding important seeds for the future. Haeckel, who coined the term ecology, also helped to initiate the idea of endosymbiosis, being perhaps the first to notice that chloroplasts (Haeckel also named and was the discoverer of the plastids) seemed like cyanobacteria trapped inside plant cells. Understanding our planet’s self-regulatory mechanisms will be key, and the symbiogenetic basis of evolutionary novelty will likely be shown to be at the core of such mechanisms. In other words, both as metaphor and as guide to action, the Haeckelian thinking Mahler confronted is still entirely contemporary.

Vom Leid der Erde takes three common species I live around (on a horse farm), and introduces their voices into classical music in a sequential order, equating the seasonal passage there from winter to spring. Almost like the French horn’s quality of holding together the sections of an orchestra, the Aeolian harp plays a key role in binding together the components, and in mediating the inherent need for technology to dialogue with Nature in this way. The Aeolian harp is the sole instrument that plays only harmonics, and the complexity of its effects stems from the Karman vortex street effect of the wind. I use just three tunings: 1. what I like to call Mahler’s ‘Nature chord’, eerie, as in the first movement of his 3rd , the minor-major seventh chord, meant to depict the beginnings of life (Mahler wrote to Nathalie Bauer-Lechner, while composing it, that Nature was fundamentally ‘eerie’), 2. the dissonant 9-note chord that climaxes the first movement of the incomplete 10th, and 3. a purely pentatonic collection. Great horned owls were nesting on the farm this past winter, but unfortunately I hadn’t started my piece and didn’t record them, (and so had to use external sources) but the red-wing blackbirds and American toads I recorded as they arrived, both on the farm and the surrounding fields."

© Katharina Stein
During the rehearsals for the Adventures with Peter Eötvös and Nurit Stark © private
  • A voice with charisma and warmth” Sarah van der Kemp shaped the concert as the vocal soloisther singing was inspiring. She holds this song skilfully to the ground, preserving it from kitsch and a height that might sound too jubilant.


    Liszt + Wagner Songs

Liszt, Wagner (Arrangement: Bello)

Liszt Songs for Chamber orchestra

Transcriptions and paraphrases for piano occupy a large space in Liszt’s oeuvre. It is not just a matter of transferring the respective work to a piano setting; Liszt interprets the large compositions with the sound structures of the piano in his own way.
In this project, the way goes the other way around, from piano setting to orchestrated arrangement. (Arrangement: Aurélien Bello)

Franz Liszt:

Die Loreley (H. Heine)
Im Rhein im schönen Strome (H. Heine)
Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam (H. Heine)
O quand je dors (V. Hugo)
La tombe et la rose (V. Hugo)
Mignons Lied (J.W. von Goethe)
Es war ein König in Thule (J.W. von Goethe)
J'ai perdu ma force et ma vie (A. Musset)
Ich möchte hingeh'n (G. Herwegh)
Liebestraum (F. Freiligrath)

Richard Wagner:

(Gedichte: M.Wesendonck)
1. Der Engel
2. Steh still!
3. Im Treibhaus
4. Schwerzen
5. Träume

CD project

László Simon in Memoriam​

In memory of the pianist László Simon, this collection was created with recordings from the Swedish Radio.