A chamber music concert: ‘From Beethoven to Chopin’

Festival and Violin Competition
Data wydarzenia
Burghers’ Hall of the Old Town Hall


Honorary Patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda under the 5th International
Karol Lipiński Violin Festival and Competition

Albrecht Menzel (Germany) – violin (1st prize winner of the fourth edition of the violin competition in 2016)
Ella van Poucke (Netherlands) - cello
Magda Amara  (Austria) – piano

Introduction: Aneta Derkowska

L. van Beethoven – IV Trio fortepianowe B-dur op. 11 "Gassenhauser"
F. Chopin – Trio fortepianowe g-moll op. 8
F. Mendelssohn – I Trio fortepianowe d-moll

The Piano Trio in B flat major Op. 11 No. 4 by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) was composed in 1797 and originally intended for the piano, clarinet and cello. It is no coincidence that Beethoven used this particular key, especially convenient to clarinettists, although admittedly the clarinet part is also performed by violinists. The piece is also known as the Gassenhauer Trio, since in the third movement Beethoven developed a theme from Joseph Weigl’s drama giocoso entitled L’amor marinaro ossia Il corsaro, an opera that at the time was performed to great acclaim in Vienna. The Trio in B flat major was first presented on 15 October 1797 and dedicated to Countess Maria Wilhelmina von Thun, mother-in-law of Karl Lichnowsky, Beethoven’s long-time patron.

The Piano Trio in G minor Op. 8 by Fryderyk Chopin (1810–1849) was composed in 1829. The first movement, Allegro con fuoco, is enthused with a truly Beethovenian spirit. Its monumental opening is followed by a subtle, lyrical part of the violin and cello that develop the first theme. The instrumentation is subject to frequent changes of key, especially in the piano part. The third movement, Adagio sostenuto, is preceded with a scherzo, in keeping with the model established by Beethoven. The Adagio is untypical of Chopin, as it also carries Beethovenian overtones. In the finale, a classic rondo appears, marked by the dancing rhythm of the Krakowiak in the refrain. As Robert Schumann wrote: ‘Is it [i.e. this trio] not distinguished by its unconceivable nobility? It is so dreamlike; no poet has ever sung like that.’ Marceli Antoni Szulc noted that it was ‘beautiful beyond comparison.’

As for the Piano Trio in D minor Op. 49 by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809–1847), Robert Schumann wrote the following in 1840: ‘It is a masterly trio of our time, just like Beethoven’s trios in B flat major and in D major or Franz Schubert’s in E flat major. The composition is amazingly beautiful, it will bring delight to many generations to come. Here is the Mozart of the nineteenth century.’ The conductor Ferdinand Hiller, who came to Leipzig in 1839, also complimented Mendelssohn’s work: ‘The fire and the spirit, the tempo and the undeniably masterful character of the whole piece have greatly impressed me.’ The premiere of the Trio in D minor took place on 1 February 1840 in Leipzig’s Gewandhaus. Feliks Mendelssohn sat at the piano, while the violin and cello parts were performed by two virtuosos of the Leipzig orchestra, Ferdinand David and Franz Carl Wittmann.

Albrecht Menzel – Winner of the Grand Prix and First Prize at the 2016 Toruń International Violin Competition in Poland, and a prizewinner at the 2015 Premio Paganini Competition in Genoa, Albrecht Menzel’s career has gained international recognition. As soloist Menzel has played with, among others, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Munich Radio Orchestra, the Magdeburg Philharmonic, the North West German Philharmonic Orchestra, the Leipzig Symphonie Orchestra, the Frankfurt Brandenburg State Orchestra, the Łódź Symphony Orchestra, the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, the Silesian Philharmonic Katowice, the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra del Carlo Felice Genova under the baton of Kurt Masur, Vasily Petrenko, Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk, Kimbo Ishii und Juozas Domarkas. Under the baton of Maestro Kurt Masur, Albrecht Menzel performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto op. 64 with the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra at the Mendelssohn Festival. “…Albrecht Menzel charmed his audience with virtuoso sounds, breathtaking tempos and a rousing, lively interpretation of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto op.64, which is heard not often in great concert halls in the world…” (Leipziger Volkszeitung 2011) Albrecht Menzel has also appeared as a soloist together with Anne-Sophie Mutter at the Philharmonie Berlin, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Palau de la Musica Barcelona, Aix-en-Provonce Grand Theatre, and toured with Anne-Sophie Mutter in the USA, Canada and Europe, giving concerts at New York`s Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington and the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. Albrecht Menzel has appeared at Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Prinzregententheater Munich, NOSPR Katowice, House of Music Moscow, Teatro Carlo Felice Genova, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Musikverein Vienna and Gasteig Munich, and has been invited to international festivals including the Mecklenburg Vorpommern Festival, Schleswig Holstein Music Festival, Rheingau Music Festival, Music Festival Dresden, International Eilat Music Festival Israel, Festival Moscow meet Friends, Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad Switzerland and George Enescu Festival. As a chamber musician Albrecht Menzel played with artists like Gidon Kremer, Jan Vogler, Steven Isserlis, Julian Rachlin, Igor Levit, Nils Mönkemeyer and Julien Quentin. Albrecht Menzel has been honored with scholarships by the Jürgen-Ponto Foundation Frankfurt, the Eduard-Söring-Prize and with the Gerd-Bucerius-scholarship by the German Music Foundation Hamburg. His Album “Thoughts”, featuring famous works “The last rose” and “Erlkönig” by Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst and sonatas by Robert Schumann, was released in 2015 on the OehmsClassics label, in a production with Radio Berlin Brandenburg. Born in 1992 in a family with silesian roots, Albrecht Menzel began playing the violin aged four and made his solo debut aged 13 at the Dresden Music Festival. He was educated by the renowned violin pedagogue professor Boris Kuschnir and studied at the University Vienna Conservatory with Julian Rachlin.

Albrecht Menzel plays a violin by Antonio Stradivari (Cremona 1709), on loan by the German Music Foundation Hamburg.