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Andermatt Swiss Alps

Classical sounds in The Chedi Andermatt

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The Chedi Andermatt is about to witness yet another musical highlight. On October 30, pianist Yu Kosuge will perform works by Brahms and Fibich together with an ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic. Leading up to the event, we talked to horn player Stefan Dohr about the concert, the composers and Andermatt.

Stefan Dohr, last time here you played in a church; this time you will be performing in a concert hall in The Chedi Andermatt hotel. Does that make a difference for you?
This certainly makes a big difference. Churches have very special acoustics that can be difficult to control. I don’t know the concert hall in The Chedi Andermatt yet, and I am very keen to experience it. It’s always exciting to get to know a new hall.

When you return to a place, do you sense a reconnection with it or do you travel to so many different places that it all seems to pass by like a movie?
Of course the music is the focus when I travel as a horn player, but still it’s always important to me to appreciate the surroundings. And since I love nature, and especially the mountains, I will try to see as much of Andermatt as I can. Last year my visit was unfortunately very brief. But still some impressions remain. Fortunately, this time my stay will be a bit longer – although still too short.

In the octet all the musicians had a solo part, and now you will be playing with the pianist Yu Kosuge. How readily can you adjust to playing with a soloist, and do you always have the opportunity to rehearse?
In the two trios by Johannes Brahms, the three musicians are actually equal soloists in their own right, even though the trio for horn, violin and piano is one of Brahms’ early works and the trio for clarinet, violoncello and piano is a very late work. The musicians meet as equal participants for a balanced musical exchange. In the quintet by Fibich the piano takes on a bit more of an accompanying role, similar to that of the orchestra in a solo concert. So we have two fundamentally different approaches, and in the trio we also have two different sets of musicians to which Yu Kosuge has to adjust. But our collaboration has been exceptional from the very first note. We’ve taken a lot of time to rehearse the three technically and musically challenging works, but we’ve also had a lot of fun.

Are works by Johannes Brahms and Zdeněk Fibich part of your standard repertoire?
Brahms’ trios are certainly part of the standard repertoire of chamber music. They are benchmarks for musicians, especially for clarinettists and horn players. Fibich’s quintet is a piece that I think absolutely deserves more attention than it gets. Even we more or less stumbled across it because it has this rather unusual composition of violin, violoncello, clarinet, horn and piano and thus combines the instrumentation of the two trios. But we all hope to have the chance to play it very often in the future. It is truly gorgeous, deeply romantic music, intellectual and original. I can warmly recommend the piece to all colleagues and organizers.

Your fellow musicians also play in the Berlin Philharmonic. Do you often tour in this smaller composition?
That’s an interesting question. When we started rehearsing for this concert, it was as if we’d been playing together forever in this composition. In fact, this is the first time – but it certainly won’t be the last.

Will you have a chance to see some of Andermatt this time?
Last year we arrived at noon and left the same evening, right after the concert. At that time, I decided that I would come back at some point with my family for a few days. Unfortunately, this has not worked out yet, but it’s still planned. At least this year I will arrive the day before the concert, and I will certainly not miss the chance to explore the area a bit. I’ve been looking forward to that since I agreed to this concert.

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