On December 19, Ensemble
ACJW will join forces with Sir Simon Rattle, violinist Christian
Tetzlaff, and soprano Barbara Hannigan to perform a program of works by
Rameau, Ligeti, and Richard Strauss. Two members of the ensemble—Brian
Ellingsen and Leelanee Sterrett—share their thoughts on working with
these luminaries of the classical music world. Today, Brian reveals his
excitement on learning about the lineup and program for the evening.
When I received word that the first
concert I would be taking part in as an Academy fellow would be
conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, I was ecstatic. When I saw that the
program included works by Rameau, Ligeti, and Richard Strauss, I
practically had to refrain from jumping out of my chair! Mr. Rattle is a
conductor who I have admired for years. I remember seeing a video of
the Berlin Philharmonic under Maestro Rattle some time ago. I was
immediately pulled in by his electrifying energy, intricate attention to
the sound of the orchestra, and inspiring passion.
To me it often seems difficult to program a concert in which the
audience will leave saying "I've never seen anything like that before!"
Here we are, musicians and audiences 10 years into the 21st century.
Sometimes it can be easy to think that we have seen it all; you can't
shock us! However, the program on December
19 to be played by Ensemble ACJW under the musical direction of Sir
Simon Rattle is truly something remarkable. The graceful and elegant
style of the Suite from Les Boréades paired next to the cutting
edge complexity of Ligeti's Violin Concerto and the shocking theatrics
of Mysteries of the Macabre is something that I find rare and
exciting. Then, sandwiched in between these two periods of time, you
have Richard Strauss's Metamorphosen, some of the most lush and
richly romantic string writing I think I have ever heard. It is not
very often that I see a concert program that contrasts and yet
complements the history and styles of the music so well.
We also have the wonderful opportunity to work with violinist
Christian Tetzlaff and soprano Barbara Hannigan on this concert. Mr.
Tetzlaff is a violinist of incredible sensitivity and impressive
virtuosity. I am mostly acquainted with his interpretations of Mozart
and Bach, which I think are stunning, but I am very interested in
hearing his interpretation of Ligeti. A violinist of his caliber
performing this concerto is sure to be exceptional. A colleague of mine
in The Academy was kind enough to forward along a YouTube clip of Ms.
Hannigan singing Mysteries of the Macabre with Mr. Rattle and
the Berliner Philharmoniker. I must say, I couldn't take my eyes and
ears off the performance. Ms. Hannigan sang with impeccable accuracy and
shocking theatrical flare.
If there is one thing that Ms. Hannigan and Mr. Tetzlaff have in
common, it is that they both perform with engaging personalities. Over
the course of the past few months, I have gotten to know the other
fellows in The Academy quite well, and I can assure you that there is no
lack in personality! In the first two Ensemble ACJW concerts of the
season, I have seen the fellows perform with sparkling charisma,
intellectual clarity, and warming emotion. I feel that the pairing of
Ensemble ACJW, Sir Simon Rattle, Christian Tetzlaff, and Barbara
Hannigan in this interesting and diverse program, is a concert not to be