Hildesheimer Daily Newspaper / Eckhard Albrecht / Trans. P. Geßner

A Woman’s Tribute to Musical Heroism

Woman’s Tribute to Musical Heroism
Enthusiastic rage over the fourth symphony concert in the city’s Theater under the conduct of the sublime guest director Anja Bihlmaier

Hildesheim. In politically difficult times every so often a wish arises for the emergence of a strong man who would turn things towards the better. The knight Götz von Berchingen was such a one, as the poet Goethe expressed. And perhaps it was this thought that gave reason to Paul Dukas‘ dedication to this hero in the form of an overture of such vigorous rhythm that manages to convey the heroic acts of anarchic times in spectacular ways – if the musical performers manage to give it its commanding justice.

The beginning of the fourth symphony concert of the TfN (Theader for Lower Saxony) philharmonic orchestra accomplished just that. It might seem ironic that it was Anja Bihlmaier‘s, a female musical director‘s, task to plausibly bring to stage such heroic manliness in her gestures. Anybody who had not yet witnessed this themselves would have marvelled in astonishment at her perfect success in this.

Camille Saint-Saen’s 5. piano concert does not evolve around homeland security at all. Rather it evolves around musical souvenirs from journeys around the globe and one in particular – a voyage to Luxor on the Nile which gives the concert its name „The Egyptian“. This composer’s creative searches have always focused on the more sensual sound experiences. He memorized songs and noises and used them to form his own original sounds to incorporate into his works.

The extraordinary seasoning of this work with its exotic ingredients will only be fully claimed upon rendition and requires an exquisite sense for the effects of changes in pace, expression and acoustic colour. It also demands the director’s ability to keep the audience’s attention on a constant level of high alert.

Not to forget the piano part which presents a true challenge even to the most highly gifted pianists. The young Annika Treutler however left nothing to be desired of her brilliant performance which the audience rewarded with heavy applause that also included acknowledgement of the sublimely subtle coordination with the orchestra.

All of it fine, musically compelling and beautiful, but these are subsidiary matters“, such was Johannes Brahms‘ opinion of Dvoraks 8th symphony. Perfectly in line with his reputation of being the German master of such criticism, he was missing the great vaulting arch, the grand idea. It is close to impossible however to imagine any member of the TfN-audience feeling similarly on that Sunday evening.

Be it the warm glowing of the first movement, the expressive elation of the second, the russophilic waltz of the third or the patriotic pathos of the last movement, everything was performed with love and so much devotion to this music’s beauty that no wishes were left unfulfilled.

This being said, the symphony’s ending was almost left undone as the decicive Anja Bihlmaier with her bold conductor’s gesticulation ended the last accord in an abrupt collapse which was musically altogether plausible yet left the audience wondering if more was to follow…

Ecstatic, even delirious applause for a magnificent concert that blended together all participants in harmonious ways and in which every member gave their absolute best. Even an encore ensued: a repeat of the third movement. High hopes are held for the return of this gifted director.