The stage of the Konzerthaus is bathed in colorful light as pianist Gwilym Simcock and trombonist Nils Landgren open the evening with the Young Euro Classic festival anthem by Iván Fischer. It will be a stimulating concert on a remarkable musical level, determined by contagious verve and joy of playing.
For the Berlin festival, Hugo Ticciati has merged his Swedish O/Modernt New Generation Orchestra with a jazz quartet around the Swedish star Landgren. He also excels in a trio with pianist Irina Zahharenkova and clarinetist Christoffer Sundqvist.
The evening’s innovative program combines arrangements (by Simcock and Johannes Marmén) and original compositions by Josquin des Préz, Igor Stravinsky and Miles Davis. All three were dazzling figures in music history, whose deaths in 2021 marked the 500th, 50th, and 30th anniversary respectively. The composers are seen as revolutionary and polarizing pioneers of musical innovation, as Ticciati explains. He also sees clear interfaces in them in terms of modal language and rhythmic structures.
Without a doubt, it is now also en vogue in the classical concert business to design unusual concert formats, to open up a wide variety of new scope and to blur genre boundaries. Well-intentioned attempts to open up classical music for new target groups always harbor the danger of falling into banal compilations, using superficial clichés or sacrificing musical quality. It is all the more remarkable how well Ticciati’s concept works – and generates artistic added value.
The works merge seamlessly, regardless of apparent stylistic boundaries, different ensemble groups are cleverly combined, the joy of playing of all musicians is captivating. Composition, arrangement and improvisation merge into a lively musical practice. Stormy applause in the well-attended hall honored the ambitious project of the Swedes.