Performance Thursday, April 5, 2012 | 7:30 PM

Vogler Quartet
Ute Lemper

Berlin Nights / Paris Days: The Art of Chanson

Zankel Hall
The Vogler Quartet team with Ute Lemper, a master of German cabaret music, to capture the acerbic wit of Weimar-era songs by Kurt Weill and the lesser known—though no less intriguing—Hanns Eisler. They also turn their attention to the evocative, powerful ballads of latter-day Belgian troubadour Jacques Brel and fiery Argentinian tango from Astor Piazzolla.


  • Ute Lemper, Vocalist
  • Vogler Quartet
    ·· Tim Vogler, Violin
    ·· Frank Reinecke, Violin
    ·· Stefan Fehlandt, Viola
    ·· Stephan Forck, Cello
  • Stefan Malzew, Piano, Clarinet, and Accordion


  • SCHULHOFF Selections from Five Pieces for String Quartet
    ·· Alla Valse Viennese
    ·· Alla Serenata
    ·· Alla Czeca
  • MAITRIER "Elle Fréquentait la Rue Pigalle" (arr. Stefan Malzew)
  • EMER "L'Accordéoniste" (arr. Stefan Malzew)
  • WEILL "Surabaya Johnny" from Happy End (arr. Stefan Malzew)
  • WEILL "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer" from Die Dreigroschenoper (arr. Stefan Malzew)
  • EISLER "Der Graben" (arr. Stefan Malzew)
  • EISLER "Über den Selbstmord" (arr. Stefan Malzew)
  • EISLER "Ballade vom Wasserrad" (arr. Stefan Malzew)
  • BOGOSLOVSKY "Temnaya Noch" (arr. Stefan Malzew)
  • CHAVA ALBERSTEIN "Stiller Abend" (arr. Stefan Malzew)
  • SCHULHOFF Selections from Five Pieces for String Quartet
    ·· Alla Tango Milonga
    ·· Alla Tarantella
  • CHAVA ALBERSTEIN "Ikh shtey unter a Bokserboym" (arr. Stefan Malzew)
  • PIAZZOLLA Yo Soy María (arr. Stefan Malzew)
  • PIAZZOLLA Oblivion (arr. Stefan Malzew)
  • PIAZZOLLA La última grela (arr. Stefan Malzew)
  • BREL "Chanson de Jacky" (arr. Stefan Malzew)
  • BREL "Ne me quitte pas" (arr. Stefan Malzew)
  • BREL "Amsterdam" (arr. Stefan Malzew)


  • Ute Lemper

    Ute Lemper's career has grown out of a passionate and enduring commitment to art, politics, and history, as well as a contentious and complicated relationship with her homeland and its past. She has achieved international acclaim as a recording artist and in the theater, cabaret, and film worlds, including performances as Velma Kelly in Chicago (London, New York, Las Vegas); Cabaret in Paris; solo concerts; symphonic concerts, including The Seven Deadly Sins and Songs from Kurt Weill; and Pina Bausch's Kurt Weill Revue.

    Although she is perhaps best known for her interpretations of music of the Weimar Republic era, Ms. Lemper's edgy aesthetic and repertoire also reach far beyond Germany. She has explored the French chanson of Édith Piaf, Jacques Prévert, Joseph Kosma, and Serge Gainsbourg, and Belgian poet Jacques Brel, as well as contemporary alternative rock music by Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, and Nick Cave, as well as songs by Philip Glass. She has created her own original material, heard on numerous albums like But One Day, Between Yesterday and Tomorrow, and The Bukowski Project, a rather avant-garde, adventurous musical collage she created of the poetry of Charles Bukowski.

    Ms. Lemper has collaborated with Wynton Marsalis on three extraordinary concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center. One of her recent projects is Ultimo Tango, in which she presents the music Astor Piazzolla and the lyrics of Horacio Ferrer. Her solo concerts reflect these pan-European and international interests, and include Songs from Piaf & Dietrich; Illusions (also material associated with Piaf and Dietrich); Songbook, consisting of settings by Michael Nyman of texts by Romanian Holocaust poet Paul Celan; and City of Strangers, with chansons of Jacques Prévert side-by-side with songs of Stephen Sondheim.

    Ms. Lemper's extraordinarily supple and expressive voice does not provide her only creative outlet. She has appeared in many international movies; Maurice Béjart created a ballet for her, La Mort Subite, which premiered in Paris in 1990; and her paintings have been shown at the German consulate in New York, the Goethe-Institut in Washington, and at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris.

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  • Vogler Quartet

    Formed in East Berlin in 1985 and still with its original members, the Vogler  Quartet  quickly established itself as one of the finest quartets of its generation. Mastering a repertoire of more than 200 works from all periods and musical styles, its members are widely recognized for their uncommon musical intelligence, homogeneous sound, insightful interpretations, and unconventional programming. They now pursue an international schedule of concerts and master classes in prestigious venues all over the world.

    In 1993, the Vogler  Quartet instituted its own concert series at the Konzerthaus in Berlin; because of its great popularity, it now offers a parallel series in Neubrandenburg. In 1999, the quartet founded the Vogler Spring Festival in Sligo, Ireland, bringing together international artists for chamber music and workshops. Ongoing collaborations are important to the quartet and have included artists such as Philippe Cassard, Angela Cheng, David Geringas, Markus Groh, Isabelle van Keulen, Daniel Müller-Schott, Ian Parker, Alfredo Perl, Menahem Pressler, Jan Vogler, Antje Weithaas, Jörg Widmann, Dietrich Henschel, and the Artemis, Pellegrini, and Petersen quartets.

    The Vogler  Quartet  is also strongly committed to the performance of contemporary music. It performed Morton Feldman's five-hour String Quartet No. 2 with tremendous success at the Musik-Biennale in Berlin in 1999. At EXPO 2000, all of Wolfgang Rihm's string quartets were performed by the Vogler and Arditti quartets. The VoglerQuartet regularly commissions and premieres new works, recently including quartets by Frank Michael Beyer, Jörg Widmann, and Mauricio Kagel.

    Trained at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler in Berlin, the Vogler  Quartet  first attained recognition in 1986 after winning first prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France. Shortly thereafter, BMG/RCA produced the first of many recordings for the quartet, later followed by Nimbus Records, Col Legno, and CPO. Since 2005, the quartet has recorded multiple times for Hänssler Classic (including works of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Schubert), as well as a CD of works by composers from the "New Jewish School" with clarinetist Chen Halevi and pianist Jascha Nemtsov. In 2011, the quartet began a relationship with Sony Classical, releasing a recording of Osvaldo Golijov's Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind and the Mozart Clarinet Quintet with clarinetist David Orlowsky. Last month, ArkivMusic released Paris Days, Berlin Nights, the quartet's collaboration with Ute Lemper and Stefan Malzew.

    In 2007, the Vogler  Quartet assumed the prestigious Chamber Music Residency at the Stuttgart Conservatory, a position previously held by the Melos Quartet.

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  • Stefan Malzew

    A versatile musician, Stefan  Malzew  is one of Germany's foremost advocates of increasing the accessibility of classical music. He has brought classical masterpieces to the German masses through his chamber-orchestra version of Die Zauberflöte, a semi-staged version of Wagner's Tannhäuser, and transcriptions of Tosca and La bohème for small opera theaters. His special presentations-such as Mozart250, Sunday at Four, Concert Nights of Neubrandenburg, a prize-winning YouTube project entitled Stefans Musikworkshop, and his own radio show for children-have allowed the German public to discover classical music in new ways.

    Mr. Malzew  is also a gifted composer, having written several original pieces, including chamber-music works, two operas (Das Opernpupp and Libuschas Tod), a prize-winning concerto for clarinet and orchestra, four concertos for jazz quartet and orchestra, a concerto for three flutes and orchestra (which was commissioned by the summer music festival of Mecklenburg), and Fragen an Mozart. As an arranger, he has created the successful project MoJazzArt, and arranged works for Ute Lemper and the Vogler Quartet.

    Mr.  Malzew studied conducting, composition, clarinet, and piano at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler in Berlin. After completing his studies, he worked as a conductor at the State Theater in Schwerin from 1987-2000 and was the music director at the Stadttheater in Gießen from 2000-2002. Mr. Malzew currently serves as the music director of the Neubrandenburg Orchestra, is the founder of youth orchestra festival Baltikum 2004, and appears regularly as a pianist with his own orchestra and numerous chamber groups.

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Maitrier's "Elle Fréquentait la Rue Pigalle" (arr. Stefan Malzew)
Ute Lemper, Vocalist | Vogler Quartet | Stefan Malzew, Piano, Clarinet, and Accordion
Steinway & Sons
Weill's "Surabaya Johnny" and "Die Moritat" vom Mackie Messer
Ute Lemper, Vocalist | Vogler Quartet | Stefan Malzew, Piano, Clarinet, and Accordion
Steinway & Sons
Chava Alberstein's "Stiller Abend" (arr. Stefan Malzew)
Ute Lemper, Vocalist | Vogler Quartet | Stefan Malzew, Piano, Clarinet, and Accordion
Steinway & Sons

At a Glance

From Paris to Berlin, from Buenos Aires to Tel Aviv, cabaret has been a persuasive art form for a century and a half. Anarchic and countercultural, it provides a voice for the voiceless. As storm troopers marched overhead or regimes changed, singers such as Édith Piaf, Lotte Lenya, Ernst Busch, and Mark Bernes sang the mordant music of an entertaining cultural elite. Now, after the atrocities of the mid-20th century, these songs offer a window into a forgotten repertoire.

German-born singer and actress Ute Lemper has made this vast catalogue her area of expertise. From Kurt Weill to the richly ambiguous Chava Alberstein, tonight's program is representative of a diverse history and Lemper's comprehensive taste. Performed in arrangements by her frequent collaborator Stefan Malzew, this is a program driven by passion rather than ephemeral political argument.

Music by Erwin Schulhoff complements these cabaret postcards from around the world. A Prague-born Jew who loved the music of Strauss, Grieg, and Debussy and was later influenced by Janáček, his Five Pieces for String Quartet speak of the sudden shifts in society, politics, and culture in Europe during the first half of the 20th century. Schulhoff, like many of the composers on this program, fell victim to the rise of totalitarianism during the 1920s and '30s; unable to escape its clutch, he was murdered in 1942. This program offers a spirited celebration of his and others' impact on world culture before the lights were turned out.
Program Notes



Ute Lemper, Stefan Malzew, and the Vogler Quartet on the making of Paris Days, Berlin Nights which makes up most of the program for this concert.

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Sponsored by DeWitt Stern Group, Inc.
This performance is part of Signatures.