Rachel Harnisch - classic-business, meToo und my voice
«Concerts demand a lot from me»
Rachel Harnisch is one of the biggest names in classical music. She is on the most important stages worldwide and works with the most influential conductors. The exceptional singer gives in the following conversation very personal insights:
Rachel Harnisch, you will be performing at the Zermatt Festival on September 7, 2019. The title of the concert is "Heavenly Life". What awaits the visitors?
"This evening, the Symphony No. 4 in G major by Gustav Mahler for soprano and orchestra in a chamber music version is given. This symphony accompanies me like a thread through my career. I sing the soprano solo in the 4th movement. Mahler composed the symphony from the last movement. The set poem by Brentano deals with the connection between the earthly and the transcendent, the sky. Described is this concept from the perspective of a child.»
You spoil the Upper Valais festival audience. This year you have already started at the Rhonefestival for song art and the music village Ernen and now you can look forward to your appearance at the Zermatt Festival. What do these guest appearances in Valais mean to you?
"For me appearances in the home are always special. I come back to the Valais and see myself as the little-year-old girl that I once was, who went to school here and who was embedded in a family. I am very aware of my own story here, and that makes it more difficult for me.»
"I always have to make a distinction between what I once was here and what I have become. When I sing in Milan, the distance between these poles is much greater than in Valais. Now it's just that I did not just experience beautiful things here. To shut it all out at a concert demands more emotional work from me. If I recognize many people in the audience, with whom I share a common story, this can be annoying. On the other hand, it does not matter where you sing. You have to deal with the voice everywhere and with the constitution of the day, get involved with the competitors on the stage and adapt to the given conditions. In Valais, the road to concentration just keeps on going.»
Your mother is regularly seen in the audience.
"She's turning 90 this year and she's still busy coming to my concerts. With age, some travel becomes too strenuous for them. But she is there where she can, and that makes me very happy.»
"The MeToo movement is getting a bit boring, Rachel Harnisch, soprano
The Rhonefestival für Liedkunst this year focused on works by female composers. If you look at the life of Clara Schumann, Alma Mahler, or Fanny Mendelssohn, you find that they had a much harder time than their male counterparts. Are there still disadvantages in the classical world that women are struggling with?
«The position of women in society and also in the music world has changed a lot. I have never been disadvantaged. But there are certainly women who would give a different answer to this question. In the MeToo movement, which is starting to get a bit boring or annoying, there are certainly women who felt deprived or exploited. But I have never experienced something like that. Even as a conductor, you have every opportunity today if you are really good. I would say the world has taken a big step forward. Even the Vienna Philharmonic is no longer a pure male society and has understood that no restrictions on sex should be made. But maybe the problem will not be the same in all countries.»
The classic world has often been referred to as a shark tank. How do you manage to be undamaged for years to come?
"Whether I survived that unscathed, I do not know. I was still a student when I was engaged at the Vienna State Opera. As a young person, you have your ideas about how this should be done. But then you are confronted with reality. I survived that. Not undamaged, maybe not. But I was always able to get up and continue on my way.»
How did you do that?
"It's extremely important that you do not lose your concentration on yourself. You have to be able to eliminate all superficiality and realize what is important and what is not. There is a lot happening outside the stage cosmos. There are things that are important to good production, but then there are those things that are annoying. You have to hide it and be able to focus on what you can and want. That's a long process. Immediately after completing your studies, you are not in the position to survey and understand everything. Therefore, one stumbles, gets up again, goes on and learns. That's the way to go.»
What did you find disturbing?
"I felt less of the famous jealousy among the singers than it may be among musicians. The pressure comes from outside, from the business. The classic world is a complex business. There are agencies that fight each other, directors who know nothing about singers, directors and even conductors who have no idea about voice and want to put their sheep in production, and other difficulties. You can only recognize all this gradually. At first you are pretty shocked. But then you realize that despite all this is a nice job. It is a privilege to sing. But you have to learn to stay with yourself. How one survives all depends on what one has for a soul ground. Whether you can count on an environment that helps you. What one has to offer qualitatively, helps to assert oneself, but it also needs a strong mental constitution.»
By singers like you, the song gets new attention. Unforgotten your appearance in the Knight's Hall, where you stretched a wide arc from Crumb to Gantertal. What fascinates you about the song?
«The song is a very small cosmos full of concentrated emotion. Each song is a drama or opera in itself and encompasses the whole range of emotions. One must be able to retrieve each of these voice colors in a short time. That's fascinating. In big opera productions you make many compromises. In the song, however, I can stay very close to my artistic statement and convey it. With my longtime pianist Jan Philip Schulze I understand myself blind. The song knows few vanities that the opera sometimes brings with it. It is unpretentious. One resigns as a singer and places herself in the service of the poet and the composer. On the opera stage, it's often more about how loud I am, how great my coloratura are, or how awesome I can get into a character. When all this is no longer important, I start to feel well. That suits me. I do not like to prostitute myself for the superficiality of the profession.»
"I do not like the superficiality of professional prostitution
Your repertoire is of enormous breadth. You recently received great role debuts as Rachel in "Halévy's La Juive, as Emilia Marty in Janácek's" Vec Makropolus, and in autumn 2017 in a demanding triple role in Aribert Reimann's world premiere "L'Invisible ander Deutsche Oper Berlin. You made a name for yourself as a singer of contemporary operas. How did you find access to this new music?
"It all started with Claudio Abbado when I sang the Prometheus Suite by Luigi Nono in New York when she was 25 years old at Carnegie Hall. Each artist was supposed to play with the music of his time-employed. Music is a mirror of the world. I find it exciting to explore how the world in which we live sounds. Artists have always been associated with society and the sense of time. Some operas of Mozart or other composers were unfamiliar to the people of the time, new and some were vehemently rejected. But art only develops when borders are crossed. I think it's important that you do not rest in familiar climes or settle on comfortable islands. I was always ready to get involved in something new. But in the future I will not sing only contemporary music. I need the variety to be challenged.»
Contemporary music is often portrayed as inaccessible and top-heavy. How can music lovers still familiarize themselves with this music?
"You can not force anyone to do it. If someone goes to a concert with a negative attitude and sounds like something, everything is already lost anyway. As a listener you should get involved and say to yourself: <Now I'm experiencing something new. > You can approach this music like a mountain you have never climbed. Like on a mountain tour you can ask yourself: <Can I do this? Can not I do it?> In Antwerp I sang the world premiere Hèctor Parras <Les Bienveillantes> this spring. It is an opera about the Holocaust theme. For
Is it harder to build a classic career today?
"It has become more difficult because so much is visible. In the past, careers played out in a smaller radius. You did not know that many singers. Today the world is open and anyone can go anywhere. Separating the wheat from the chaff has become even more difficult. In addition, other things are becoming more important. When I see which people have made careers, I am sometimes amazed. The visual has become overly important. The marketing is essential. However, careers are faster. There are only a few singers who can hold each other for years. I do not want to be 25 again and start. Sometimes it's scary to see which things matter, whether you're heard and seen or not. I am glad that I have already found my way and can go on.»
Singers who are in the limelight at a young age develop in public. Was that sometimes difficult for you?
«In classical music one is rather anonymous. The inhibition threshold lies elsewhere than, for example, in the pop or film business. I can sing an opera performance in Berlin and then leave the opera, and maybe there are two to 20 people there who still want to do an autograph or a selfie. I try to shield my private life. There are no pictures of my kids on Facebook or anything. But it remains difficult to separate my artistic life from my private life.»
What is this difficulty?
"I was on stage for the first time with Claudio Abbado at the age of 25 at the Berlin Philharmonic. His CDs were on the shelf of my nursery. Suddenly I stood there beside him on the podium. You have to handle that. Then I started to quarrel and sometimes I was too scared. I thought: <I little girl from the Valais stand here with the best and biggest of the music world. > I became uncertain and began to think: <What do people think about me? Am I beautiful enough? Am I good enough?> This conversation was always with me. This can be very tattering, and I had a lot of trouble with it. That sometimes threw me off track. But at some point I scrambled to my feet and thought, 'Yes, I'm good, I'm listening and I have to learn to handle it. > You are very lonely before every concert. Rituals then help me to stay on the ground, to be calm and to breathe calmly. To bring this ego on stage is a long process that I am still busy with today. It is still difficult to take the first step on the stage. You almost die a little, that's how it is.»
As a singer you use the most personal instrument ever - the voice. Do you regularly turn your innermost outward?
"The relationship between me and my voice is special. I became a singer because everyone else said, 'You're good and you have to do that. > But I always have to get the singer off the hook. When I'm with my family or with my friends, the singer is very far away. When I start to work, I make friends with the singer again. I have a love-hate relationship with my voice. It's nice to be able to dock her to my heart. That remains a mystery to me. Why can I manage to transport emotions, I can not explain. But I can. There are singers who are always singers. They can sing at the touch of a button. I never could. For me, singing is a means of expressing myself. But that could have been anything, a cello or another instrument. Now it's just the voice, because I have a talent there. But it remains only a means for me. I am not only my voice, but I am also my voice.»
"I am full of self-doubt
You are always cheered at your performances, but you still know self-doubt?
"I am full of self-doubt. But this is also a guarantee to continue to develop and to constantly improve. I am never satisfied. Never, never, never! I think that's how good artists have to be. I am not an artist resting on her laurels. My CV on paper is pretty nice, but all of that is already a thing of the past when the audience reads it. I have to prove myself all the time. I have to do my best every time I perform. And then I hope my best is good enough. I'm extremely self-reflective and self-critical, but also very disciplined.»
What kind of music do you listen to when you are not working?
"Almost none! My husband always says it's a shame how little music we have. I just need my peace at home. I'm so busy with music so often. There is always music in my head, and at some point I need silence. I rarely listen to classical music at home. I may hear recordings that I get sent, or I hear certain recordings when I learn something new or need a reference to a work. When driving it is different. I'm a jazz fan, even though I do not know enough about it. But otherwise I listen to rock, pop, mainstream, Mundartsongs, Sina, folklore from other countries or the fairy tale CDs of my daughters - all querbeet.»
They are the mother of two daughters aged four and five. What does the musical early education at your home look like?
"I think, normal, as in all other households too. If one of my daughters said that she now wants to play the violin or the piano, we would support that. But they are free. I myself had to play the piano. That never interested me. I always found an excuse not to go to the piano lessons. It just was not my instrument. I think that a talent prevails. It does not matter if you promote it or not. But my kids are naturally confronted with the life of an artist. They experience that sometimes I am not there for weeks. They know life behind the scenes, in hotels or big cities. Even though they sometimes miss their mommy, they get enriching insights into this world. Your way to the music should remain playful. Sometimes they hammer on the piano. There is no constraint. I see how difficult artistic life is. If you are not superb, then it will be even more difficult. I hope they choose an easier way.»
Modern mothers do not have it easy. Bringing one's child and career together is certainly not always easy. Have you found a way to do both?
"When I first got pregnant, I thought, 'How should this work?' I learned over time. But it remains a logistical peak performance. I have a great man and a perfect working environment. They all support me a lot. In addition, I had to gain confidence in the outside care in the hoard, in kindergartens or the school. Long absence, however, remains an emotional ordeal. That's why I try to be there for my children as often as possible.»
"Who in the artist's sense of life, can only fail
How do you experience the change when you give the capricious diva on stage and the grounded mother is asked at home?
"I am very grateful that I have this grounding through my children. I used to suffer from lacking this connection to real life. On stage you are always in an artificial situation. That has nothing to do with normality. Thousands of emotions that you would otherwise have over the year, you experience there clenched in one and a half hours. I used to sing, drink something with colleagues and then go to the hotel. I was alone there. Now I return to my family. That is so beneficial. That grounded me and saved me. I know now that real life is happening here. That's what matters. My children do not care how I sang. The performance is like a rush. But he stops with the last sound. Even the applause is something artificial. My main job is to be mother and partner. That's the most important. I have a reason to be in this world. Who in the artist's life a sense of life, can only fail in my opinion. That alone can not make you happy.»
What do you wish for your future?
"That it stays as it is. I want to sing some nice roles. In the profession you never know how it goes on. I hope my family is well and my girls will have a fulfilling life. For her, I wish she had less trouble than me and that her paths would be a bit more straightforward than mine.»
Interview: Nathalie Benelli
Presse - Kritik
Deutsche Oper Berlin - worldpremiere L'Invisible - A. Reiman
German Opera Berlin
Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin
Donald Runnicles, lead
The fantastically clear, outrageously agile soprano Rachel Harnisch, the classy bass baritone by Stephen Bronk and other soloists of the outstandingly well-staffed piece ensemble are also to be seen as figures of the following two Maeterlinck chapters. Ygraine (once again the grandiose Rachel Harnisch) says that as a sister of the boy she sings: The queen is "the mother of our mother".
Volker Hagedorn, DIE ZEIT
The evening's solo star is Rachel Harnisch, who, with her brilliant, unbroken soprano rhyme, is gradually becoming a more flagrant opponent of death. A big, unanimously acclaimed evening for the Deutsche Oper.
Julia Spinola, SZ Süddeutsche Zeitung
... the soprano Rachel Harnisch, who as Titangiles' sister sings the only exposed part of this opera and embodies the radiant humanity that opposes Aribert Reimann of gloom in his new work. Finally, the composer himself is gratefully acclaimed.
Clemens Haustein, FAZ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Rachel Harnisch sings the rest of the highly outstanding vocal soloist ensemble to the wall with her triple role (Ursula, Marie, Ygraine) !!!
Andre Sokolowski, the Friday
I found a terrific performance and very impressive - especially the main actress Rachel Harnisch, something good I have not heard for a long time! Eberhard Kloke, conductor and composer ... with the wonderfully confident and beautiful singing Rachel Harnisch! Reinhard J. Brembeck, SZ Süddeutsche Zeitung Rachel Harnisch: 'charismatic sonority'!
Eleonore Büning, NZZ
Color, especially vocal color, comes with the Swiss Rachel Harnisch into the action. She sings Marie, one of the old granddaughters in "Intérieur" and then, after another interlude, the great monologue of Ygraine in the "Tintagiles". Ygraine is the sister of the already sick boy (Salvador Macedo in a speaking role). And Reimann, who until then had designed the vocal parts with relatively quiet means, provided them with the most exciting vocal line of the evening.The interval jumps get bigger, there are approaches of coloratura, and that's no wonder: Ygraine is extremely excited, she knows that the queen wants to get the brother. The fact that Reimann can write so well for a voice as no other contemporary composer proves, above all, with this play, which interprets Harnisch with a blazing soprano.
Udo Badelt, Der Tagesspiegel
The exquisiteness of the singer voices is immediately noticeable. But especially the soprano by Rachel Harnisch, which takes on female roles in all three one-acters, captivates with its soft sophistication and yet size and viability.
Mathias Nöther, Berliner Morgenpost
enfin une Rachel Harnisch vraiment exceptionnelle, dans les trois ds Ursula, Marie et Ygraine, soprano fil rouge magnifique anaclase.com Rachel Harnisch, who packed the punch as Ygraine in the trilogy's concluding part. Sam Johnstone, bachtrack Outstanding, however, in terms of stage presence, dramatic intensity, text design and mastery of heights, is guest Rachel Harnisch.
Albrecht Selge, one hundred and eleven
As Marie is Rachel Harnisch experience. In her main roles in all three parts of "L'Invisible", the Swiss impresses with a clear, expressive and high-pitched voice. Annika Schlicht as Marthe also shows a considerable presence with her strong, full-sounding mezzo-soprano. Harnisch is enthusiastically celebrated at the end for her demanding triple role. The other soloists, the orchestra, the director and last but not least the composer received great applause. For Reimann it is already the fifth world premiere at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Corina Kolbe, new music magazine nmz
der Freitag - das Meinungsmedium
Beitrag von Christian Titze über die Premiere L’INVISIBLE in RBB aktuell vom 8.10. (ab Minute 13):
Deutschlandfunk Kultur, Fazit vom 8.10., Rezension von Uwe Friedrich:
Kulturradio, Frühkritik von Kai Luehrs-Kaiser am 9.10.
Reportage von den Proben zu L’INVISIBLE von Antje Bonhage, gesendet am 6.10. um 17.10 Uhr auf RBB-Kulturradio:
Portrait von Vasily Barkhatov von Antje Bonhage, gesendet am 7.10. um 7.10 Uhr auf RBB-Kulturradio:
Mahler, Schubert, Strauss im KKL
Benefizkonzert mit dem Human Rights Orchestra
Donnerstag, 6. Juni 2019
Rachel Harnisch, Sopran
Human Rights Orchestra
Alessio Allegrini, Leitung
The lonely summit of this Thursday evening in the concert hall of the KKL is the Swiss soprano Rachel Harnisch. She sings the quiet and introverted songs "Nacht und Träume" (Franz Schubert) and "Morgen" by Richard Strauss. In Schubert's notation there is only one dynamic statement: "pianissimo". But Rachel Harnisch gives this word richness and inwardness, leading the piece to meditation and prayer in one. Fragile, beautiful and supportive, her vocals fill the KKL. The room provides the basic acoustic work and Rachel Harnisch knows how to use it subtly and artistically. An exciting moment just in his inexperience.
In "Morning" the soprano weaves an intimate dialogue with the concert master Sebastian Breuninger of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Wide arches that naturally weave around each other. With metered vibrato inserted sets it short peaks, dense waves, which aim directly into the interior. With metered vibrato inserted sets it short peaks, dense waves, which aim directly into the interior. These quietest spots are the highlight of the evening.
Les Bienveillantes - Die Wohlgesinnten
Hèctor Parra - Oper nach dem gleichnamigen Roman von Jonathan Littel
Premiere Mittwoch, 24. April 2019, 19.30h
Rachel Harnisch, Sopran
Calixto Bieito, Inszenierung
Klaus Händl, Libretto
Peter Rundel, Leitung
A world premiere after Jonathan Littell's controversial novel The Kindly Ones (Les Bienveillantes) from the year 2006. The main character, SS officer Max Aue, is not only a witness, but above all a participant in the horrors of the war, but what does not burden him seems. After the production of Infinite Now about the First World War, Opera Vlaanderen awarded this challenging commission to World War II to the librettists Händl Klaus and the Catalan composer Hèctor Parra. It is headed by Calixto Bieito.
See all audio, images & video
The characterization of Maximilian Aue as a sensitive, culturally refined intellectual, but also as a psychologically traumatized, homosexual Nazi, creates an uncomfortable ambiguous situation. The adaptation of this novel as an opera is a true show of strength. With Les Bienveillantes, the composer Hèctor Parra has written his sixth major work for music theater. He combines strong musical structures with a very intuitive and direct dramatic tone. For Les Bienveillantes Opera Vlaanderen composes a cast of opera singers with a strong stage presence. The director and guiding principle of Les Bienveillantes is Calixto Bieito, who has lost none of the radicalism that made him an enfant terrible of the opera scene in his early years. The musical direction is in the hands of Peter Rundel, a specialist in contemporary music, who previously also directed Hèctor Parra's Wilde at the Schwetzinger Festspiele.
Premiere at the Philharmonie Berlin
Aribert Reimann - 'Fragments de Rilke' für Sopran und Orchester
Sonntag, 23. Februar 2019, 20.00h
Rachel Harnisch, Sopran
Robin Ticciati, Leitung
Aribert Reimann is considered one of the most important contemporary composers. After the great success of his opera L'insivisble with Rachel Harnisch, the composer composed the orchestral songs 'Fragments de Rilke' especially for the artist and dedicated the composition to her.
German and French fragments by Rilke from the years 1911 to 1921 form the textual layer of this composition. Reimann sees Rilke here in affinity with Kafka. Not lost in dreams, as so often in Rilke settings, but dramatic and confrontational is the musical language, The work for soprano and orchestra based on poetry fragments by Rainer Maria Rilke combines a challenging vocal part with partly restrained, partly gripping orchestral accompaniment.
Lisa Della Casa und Rachel Harnisch
NZZ Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Marianne Zelger-Vogt
The Valaisian Rachel Harnisch was just born when Lisa Della Casa ended her career. But the signed portrait photography above her piano reveals how much the great colleague is present for her. While she was a student, she occasionally heard her name but did not keep track of her. As a young singer you have to find yourself first, do not look too far outside. Only when she read in a review after her first recital in Zurich, her voice reminded of the Della Casas, listened to Rachel Harnisch their recordings. "It was almost frightening how much she lived up to my ideal, how similar her technical approach, her handling of the voice was, the way to develop the sound from the piano with as little effort as possible."
After this first encounter, Rachel Harnisch has not listened to Della Casa recordings for fear of being influenced. Now she's got her out again. Meanwhile established singer with pedagogical experience, she perceives Della Casas art even more differentiated. "I especially admire her control over the sound, she never goes to her limits, it always sounds natural, even in the highest notes effortlessly. Her voice is not a volcano erupting eruptively, she does not overrun one, always keeps a certain reserve, which gives her something mysterious, that captivates you. "
Can Lisa Della Casa still be a role model for young singers today, or is her vocal style outdated? "Their portamenti would certainly not be possible, but that was the common practice. Her piano culture remains exemplary. It is frightening how little attention is paid to it today. The louder, the better, is often the motto. But also in their handling of the word, the current generation of singers could take an example. This does not just mean the comprehensibility of the text, it is about the unity of word and emotional expression, about the word as a means of design of the singer, about the richness of color that can be developed from it. Lisa Della Casa sings as if reciting, forgetting the complex vocal mechanism required to do so. Last but not least, I find her basic attitude towards her job admirable. She burned for her art without burning on her. "
Premiere am Festival Janáček in Brno
Die Sache Makropulos – Leos Janáček
Janáček Theater - Sunday, 25. November 2018, 7.00 pm, Brno (Tschechien)
Opera Vlaanderen, Conductor: Tomáš Netopil, Regie: Kornél Mundruczó
One of the highlights of the festival will be the piece The Makropulos Affair, presented in a production by the Flemish Opera, which performs Janáček´s work regularly. It will feature one of the most important Czech conductors, Tomáš Netopil, who has regularly been involved in the interpretation of Janáček´s work both at the theatre and in the concert hall. This futuristic production, which had its premiere in 2016, is the work of leading Hungarian film director Kornél Mundruczó, whose films have often gained awards at leading festivals such as Cannes and Sundance. Mundruczó is also the founder of an independent theatre company, Proton Theater, with which he tours important theatre festivals like Wiener Festwochen or others in Berlin, Brussels, etc.
Rachel Harnisch mit Eliahu Inbal in Finnland
Friday, 14 september 2018, 7pm, Filharmonia Tampere FI
Rachel Harnisch, sopprano
Eliahu Inbal, director
Rachel Harnisch interprets the songs 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn' by Gustav Mahler under the direction of the great Eliahu Inbal.
Eliahu Inbalin's career as a major international conductor began when he won the 1963 Guido Cantelli Competition at the age of 26. Since then, was principal conductor of the Frankfurt Symphony Orchestra, the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the Czech Philharmonic and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony. Inbal began conducting at the Jerusalem Music Academy and graduated from the French National Academy of Music, where he taught Oliver Messiah, among others. His Mahler and Bruckner recordings have won international awards, and his interpretation of the Shostakovich symphonies is groundbreaking.
Rachel Harnisch at the memorial concert Irwin Gage
Sonntag, 8. Juli 2018, 17.00h ZHdK Zürich
Rachel Harnisch, soprano
Jan Philip Schulze, piano
The internationally recognized song accompanist Irwin Gage was one of the great piano accompanists of the 20th century. The artistic partner of leading song singers such as Brigitte Fassbaender, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Jessye Norman died in April 2018 in Zurich. In his honor, the association "Friends of Song" in cooperation with the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) is organizing a memorial concert with Rachel Harnisch and Jan Philipp Schulze. Rachel Harnisch gave several recitals with Irwin Gage.
Gstaad Festival 2019
Sunday, August 12, 2018, 6:00 pm Church Saanen
Rachel Harnisch, soprano - Thomas E. Bauer, baritone
Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne
Simon Savoy, Celine Monnier - Pierre-Fabien Roubaty, pianos
The "German Requiem" by Brahms occupies a central place in the hearts of many Germans because it speaks to them in their mother tongue. It has nothing in common with the Catholic Mass for the Dead (borrowed from the Brahms' title only), but derives its strength from the simplicity and confidence of the disciples of Luther - those northern Germans who prefer to speak for the dead instead of the living Sorrow to comfort. It is known that Brahms liked to omit the word "German" and set the "man" for it, perhaps with the intention of emphasizing the difference more strongly. "A Requiem for Man" - under this title, the masterpiece could not be classified in any drawer. This time it has a smaller cast with two pianos and the ensemble Vocal de Lausanne, one of the best Swiss choirs founded more than half a century ago by Michel Corboz and since 2015 led by Daniel Reuss. The evening begins with two compositions that Brahms made in the summer of 1887 and 1888 on the shores of Lake Thun on paper.
Thursday, 5 July 2018, 8.30 pm, Zeughaus Kultur, Brig
Rachel Harnisch, soprano and Jan Philip Schulze, piano
On July 5, 2018, Rieder Harnisch, soprano and Jan Philip Schulze, piano, perform under the title "frau.liebe" in an unfamiliar setting at the Zeughaus Kultur Brig - Glis.
"Frau.liebe" Recital with works by Robert Schumann from Frauenliebe und Leben op 42 and works by Lehar, Weill, Bizet and Strauss.
New CD - L'Invisible at the Deutsche Oper Berlin
Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper
Donald Runnicles, conductor
The acclaimed premiere of the latest work by Aribert Reimann 'L'Invisible' has been released on CD. Rachel Harnisch interprets three roles in this work.
The life of Mary with Jan Philip Schulze on Naxos
Rachel Harnisch and Jan Philip Schulze reinterpreted the song cycle of Paul Hindemith's Die Marienleben and recorded it on CD.
Paul Hindemith's song cycle Marienleben was even considered by the composer to be perhaps the best work he ever wrote ... a remarkable achievement in a work that includes his seven string quartets and the opera masterpiece Mathis the Painter. Although he was initially very proud of the original version of 1923, he later became somewhat dissatisfied because he felt that the vocal line was not so well related to the lyrics or the piano piece, so a quarter of a century later, while he was living in America, he revised it the cycle to what he thought was his final form.
Curious about all sides - Peter Hagmann NZZ
NZZ-critic Peter Hagmann reviews the new CD's of the Berner Symphonieorchester with Mario Venzago and Rachel Harnisch.
The Berner Symphonieorchester and its chief conductor Mario Venzago have Oberwasser.
If there is a happy orchestra somewhere in Switzerland, then it is probably the Bern Symphony Orchestra. With Mario Venzago, since 2010, there has been a chief conductor and artistic director, who fully identifies with his task and generates high motivation in the orchestra - that there is a specific agreement here after a few moments. Last but not least, this is due to structural movement.
The orchestra has been rejuvenated and about a quarter of its members have joined the band. And the peculiarity here is that, as Venzago explains, a good number of part-time positions have been created, so that musicians with family and those with other interests, for example in the field of chamber music, can be part of it; Today, according to Venzago, 90 posts are distributed among about 120 orchestra members. Also new is a dance band formed in the circle of the orchestra in the spirit of the 1920s; The search for music for this formation is said to have required criminological abilities.
In the foyer of the Kultur-Casino Bern, an informative exhibition in the form of posters gave an insight into the life and work of the composer. And the conclusion in the most recent concert of the Berne Orchestra was the Symphony No. 2 in A major from 1903 - a strangely bulky, yet attractive piece that Brahms marries with Tchaikovsky and carefully searches for new territory in harmony and in rhythm. Strangely enough, it starts with a variation movement, a passacaglia, which, as it should, flows into a technically advanced fugue. After a scherzo that jumbled the three-four-act, a romance followed, in which the tonal qualities of the Berner Symphonieorchester were shown in the brightest light. This sound is light and colorful, which is why there was no trace of kitsch. And refined, in the footsteps of historically informed performance practice, worked with the non-legato, which led to very distinctive mixtures.
Ammann on the one hand, Juon on the other - and in between the first violin concerto by Sergei Prokofiev, which was completed in the revolutionary year of 1917, but maintains a completely spring-like, almost idyllic tone. With her restrained, yet equally sound sound, the young violinist Veronika Eberle was exactly right at the place. She made the cantabile of this melodious concert splendid. And together with Mario Venzago, the Bern Symphony Orchestra let listen to the wealth that prevails in the quiet, how the rhythmic finds its succinctness and how tension can arise. The listener of this imaginatively designed evening could feel addressed very directly. After that there was a good mood.
Interview 'Ja Juive' - Rencontre à la Librairie Kléber
Rachel Harnisch in conversation with Jacques Lacombe, the musical director of the production 'La Juive' at the Opéra National du Rhin, Strasbourg.
NZZ Rachel Harnisch - a inquisitive artist
Called to Sing - New recordings by soprano Rachel Harnisch underline the joy of discovery of the Swiss artist
For a concert at the university her professor had given her the middle five songs of the cycle, and it was this music that had helped her to overcome her self-doubt, because here she had felt that she was called to sing. The technical demands of the cycle did not frighten her, but she was able to fully identify with the complex compositional style. "It was as if this music came from me." When a ray of sunshine fell directly through a window during the performance in the historic Freiburg department store, she felt it was a sign of fate.
Intellect and emotion
However, this "awakening experience" had a history. On the one hand there was the relationship with Rilke, whose work she had been familiar with since her school days in Brig with the class, they had visited his grave in nearby Raron and read his poems. In Hindemith's neoclassical tonal language she now found Rilke's poems set in music "as it must be". In addition, their origin came from a very Catholic milieu, in which the knowledge of the biblical events was self-evident. That is what has made her aware of the other, humanized image of Mary that Rilke depicts: Mary as well as a sensually and physically sensitive woman and mother, chosen to suffer.
After performances in Lausanne, Antwerp and at the Lucerne Festival, Harnisch recorded the 15-part cycle on CD with pianist Jan Philip Schulze. That they decided not for the first version of 1922/23, but for the version of 1948, justifies them with the own connection of text and music that this version own. "I am always interested in the text first, then the vocal handling of the setting, and then I let the work affect me emotionally." This synthesis of intellectual penetration and emotional design makes the recording of the "life of Mary" an event. Harnisch's soprano, immaculate, hovering lightly, rising without pressure to the highest regions, at the same time very corporeal, expresses the narrative voice with artful simplicity in the finest shades of color, moving dreamily on the fine line between empathy and distance from the action. In the light of Harnisch's language awareness, a perfect diction is self-evident, of course, but the absence of the Rilke text in the CD booklet is a serious shortcoming. In addition, however, she sets meaningful accents by the way she retraces the speech melody, emphasizes individual words and colors them moodily. The piano part, which cleverly plays on and underscores the voice, receives a relief-like contour from Jan Philip Schulze. The last two poems of the cycle show Mary in heaven. There is also the fourth movement of Gustav Mahler's Fourth Symphony based on a soprano solo text from "Des Knaben Wunderhorn". But now the "heavenly pleasures" are sung from a childlike perspective: it is funny here and there, it is danced and geschmaust. Also for this Harnisch's soprano has the right colors ready: blooming, velvety, tingling.
She has sung this solo many times, but this recording is, according to the booklet, a first recording, because it is based on the chamber orchestra version of Klaus Simon. The Mythen Ensemble Orchestral plays them under the direction of Graziella Contratto with dedicated access, whereby the solo instruments shine brilliantly. The CD is supplemented with five songs instrumented by Contratto, which the pianist Artur Schnabel composed around 1900 for the mezzo-soprano Therese Behr, his later wife. Harnisch also proves to be a sensitive text interpreter in these illustrative works. At the height of her art, she stands in a representative Schoeck recording in which her lyrical voice in the Mörike setting "Visit to Urach" rises to dramatic emphasis. In this late-romantic world of sound, she says, she feels at home; she could empathize with this yearning for home, youth and security so music had to be so that she could feel at one with her.
Shots by Rachel Harnisch: Hindemith: Marienleben. Jan Philip Schulze (piano). Naxos 8.573 423 (1 CD). Mahler: Symphony No. 4; Beak: songs. Mythen Ensemble Orchestral, Graziella Contratto (conductor). Claves 50-1709 (1 CD) .Schoeck: «Summer Night», Sonata for bass clarinet and orchestra, «Penthesilea» Suite, «Visit to Urach». Bernhard Röthlisberger (bass clarinet), Berner Symphonieorchester, Maria Venzago (conductor). Musiques Suisses MGB 6281 (1 CD).
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"This is the biggest song cycle ever composed, and Rachel Harnisch proves that Glenn Gould's hugely praise is just a little exaggeration."
Critic Jürgen Kesting on the new CD: Hindemith - Marienleben with Rachel Harnisch and Jan Philip Schulze (Naxos)
Jürgen Kersting: Inalienable heritage
Music critic Jürgen Kersting reviews the new CD with Paul Hindemith's Marienleben by Rachel Harnisch and Jan Philip Schulze.
The vocal performance leaves nothing to be desired. Harnisch's voice, an expansive lyrical soprano, has tonal substance in the deep position and luminosity in the colorfully changing height. Excellent legato: It embeds the words, carefully articulating, in the dynamically patterned sound. She has an excellent partner in Jan Philip Schulze. The sound is, to my taste, a bit too reverberant. The songs are immersed in a kind of sfumato, so rather soft drawn. The texts must, as usual at Naxos, be accessed on the Internet.