Turn the world's most "absurdly talented" (quoting festival director Lars Vogt) chamber musicians loose on a historic hydroelectric power plant, and the sparks fly.

 

The chamber music festival called Tensions takes place in an old power plant in a river valley in the western hills of Germany.

Power Plant at Heimbach

Power Plant at Heimbach Photo: Deutsche Welle Festival

Russia is huge. Russia is cold. From the Caucasians to Kamchatka, Russia is a land with a fascinating culture. Russian music culture is in focus at this Tensions festival.

The Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya was long considered the 'great unknown' of Russian music. It wasn't until the 1990s that her works reached the music world of Western Europe. Ustvolskaya stood in the shadow of her famous teacher Dmitry Shostakovich, who was once so enthused by his student that he proposed marriage to her. Ustvolskaya declined though. She was somewhat less taken by him that he was by her, both the man and his music, which she felt wasn't radical enough. In this, she stayed true to her convictions up to her death at age 87 in 2006. Galina Ustvolskaya almost always took performing musicians and her audiences to the edge.

Programme:

BRAHMS: Clarinet Trio in A minor Op 114;

SHOSTAKOVICH: Piano Trio No 2 in E minor Op 67;

USTVOLSKAYA: Grand Duo for cello & piano;

TCHAIKOVSKY: String Quartet No 2 in F Op 22 (1, 3, 4)

Sharon Kam (clarinet), Lars Vogt (piano), Tanja Tetzlaff (cello), Gergana Gergova (violin), Alban Gerhardt (cello), Dina Ugorskaya (piano), Antje Weithaas (violin), Byol Kang (violin), Timothy Ridout (viola)

Recorded in the Power Plant, Heimbach (Deutsche Welle)

Musicians, turbines and audience at Power Plant in Heimbach

Musicians, turbines and audience at Power Plant in Heimbach Photo: Deutsche Welle Festival