(gd) - After intensive practising, exhausting selection rounds and hopeful ban-ging, the three best instrumentalists in each case - in the tuba Florian Wielgosik (France), Richárd Bence Masa (Hungary) and Igor Martinez (Venezuela) and in the horn Achille Fait (Italy), Felipe Santos Freitas da Silva (Brazil), Damien Muller (Luxembourg/France) - were allowed to demonstrate their extraordinary skills once again, without competition stress,
in a festive and relaxed atmosphere on the stage of the Musikhalle Markneukirchen, which was once again beautifully decorated by Blumenhaus Am Roten Markt. The whole thing took place within the framework of the prize-giving ceremony and a prize-winners' concert. What the days of musical competition had promised, this concert evening delivered - a wonderful finale to this highly respected competition!!!
The musical opening was provided by Felipe Santos Freitas da Silva with the piece Sur les Cimes (On the Summits) by Eugène Bozza (1905-1991). He was sensitively accompanied by the Japanese répétiteur Akiko Nikami. "A rather tricky piece, with glissandi, trills and 2 cadenzas" - said the soloist. But he performed it masterfully and was rightly applauded by the expert audience.
The moderator Beatrice Schwartner, who had already accompanied the two final rounds, also guided the audience through the programme in an informative, relaxed and personal manner and provided an insight into the work of the organising office (Carola Schlegel and Josefine Grumbach): "Everything that had to be organised on a large and small scale, everything that the 15 jurors need, everything that 90 participants aged between 16 and 32 need to be able to present themselves in the best possible way in the competition, and all the thousand things that are still there, and to offer the rich programme around it, to give everyone a feeling of being welcome in the process, to offer an open ear to all those who need it at the moment, the conversations, the exchange in the last 10 days - all this makes the IIW Markneukirchen...Congratulations, what an achievement"! One can only agree with these thoughts of the sympathetic speaker!
Andreas Rubner then took the floor as mayor and chairman of the IIW e.V. association. "There are really wonderful days behind us", nature had "literally exploded" in the last few days, and the music was also able to "make its way to our audience and into the hearts of the people" again.
His thanks went to Prof. Lampert for the excellent work and for the "cordiality with which he did it". He had passed his baptism of fire with flying colours!
He was also pleased to welcome the President of the IIW for String Instruments Prof. Julius Berger, who did not miss the opportunity to come to this prize winners' concert. The 15 professors of the international jury from 9 countries were also warmly thanked for their excellent work and great commitment.
As every year, the sponsors and supporters were also welcomed and thanked, because without them this competition could not be held.
The mayor congratulated the 6 prize winners and wished them a successful prize winners' concert. This concert would be the crowning finale of the competition, which was also characterised by an extraordinarily high quality this year. The aim of this competition was not only to win prizes, but also to collect and exchange experiences and to compare oneself directly with other participants.
Thanks also went to all the "makers of this competition" involved: "Without the joint action of many people in our town, this competition would not be feasible in this form! All this makes us as the town of Markneukirchen and this competition authentic, it makes it part of our town!"
Andreas Rubner also thanked the organisation office and Carola Schlegel in particular: "We cannot praise highly enough what you ... have done for this competition for our town! There are very few people who have such a perfect triad of intelligence, cordiality and organisational talent as our Carola" (long, hearty applause) "Now I have been allowed to bear responsibility for Markneukirchen and this competition for 7 years, it was not a duty, but a calling and a matter of the heart to commit myself to this competition". The mayor felt deep gratitude that he "was allowed to go this way together with the many employees and helpers of the IIW". In all his words, there was not only pride, but also a great deal of melancholy that he will no longer be able to experience all this at first hand next year.
And on it went with a solo piece for tuba - Sweet Dances by Elizabeth Raum (*1945).
"A tuba is not a clarinet"! And yet this great instrument must swing and dance. And how it did!! The second-placed Richárd Bence Masa from Hungary and his "sweet dancing tuba" amazed the audience. With what virtuoso, even acrobatic mastery of the instrument he made his tuba dance, it was simply unbelievable! Enthusiastic applause was the reward for this musical performance.
"The man who passed his baptism of fire, Prof. Christian Lampert, took the floor next. He thanked all those involved in this competition for their commitment and achievements, and the jury for their good, fruitful cooperation.
"Behind us lie very intensive 10 days, during which two "extremely harmonious expert juries... met the young musicians with great fairness, respect and prudence. Both juries made their decisions with a great deal of tact and empathy for the participants. Thus ... an almost familiar atmosphere developed in which everyone pulled together ... This was the basis for the young soloists to develop optimally here". In the past 10 days, they have surpassed themselves and found the "right mixture of diligence and mental relaxation". The importance of this competition and the prizes associated with it was reflected in the fact that the international jury included several former prize winners of this competition.
Every single participant was a winner, he said, because through the intensive work and conscientious preparation ... they had all taken a big step in their development. What pleased Prof. Lampert personally was that he could observe how "friendships were made, how people kept their fingers crossed together and rejoiced, how people celebrated together or consoled each other. All this is ... a great benefit of such a competition... and shows how important this is especially in this day and age".
He also thanked everyone "who has ensured that this competition is once again one of the international highlights in the music world this year".
Before the official award ceremony and the subsequent break, there were two commissioned works to be heard, composed for this competition, sponsored by the Buffet Crampon Group.
The first piece was HO(ye)RN for solo horn by Roland Szentpali (*1977), with the movements 1. Mark - 2. Neu - 3. Kirchen. An amusing piece of music, during which the mental cinema suddenly started. The soloist claimed to have practised like "crazy", because here composed multitasking was the order of the day! High virtuosity paired with tapping foot and rhythmic drumming of the free hand. An impressive performance by the young horn player Damien Muller (Luxembourg/France)!!!
With Aubade for tuba and piano by Willi März (*1967), who was himself present as an audience member that evening, Igor Martinez from Venezuela was once again allowed to set the scene. Accompanied by Elena Ten (Russia) on the grand piano, the soloist was able to convince with a very differentiated tone and with wide, vocal arches and musically "justify" his third prize.
Those listeners who had already been present at the two final rounds were certainly eagerly awaiting the last two musical contributions - and rightly so! For in the second part of the evening, the two compulsory concerts with the first prize winners and the Clara Schumann Philharmonic Orchestra Plauen-Zwickau were heard.
After the competition fanfare, the outstanding tuba player from France, Florian Wielgosik, first played the beautiful Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra (1978) by Edward Gregson (*1945) with the movements Allegro deciso - Lento a mesto - Allegro giocoso. A music in which the soloist, together with the orchestra under the sensitive direction of Vladimir Yaskorski, reached the hearts of the audience with his wonderful sound shaping, his technical skills and his expressive, brilliant playing. Long-lasting applause, along with his first place and the accompanying ideal and material prizes, were the just reward for this extraordinary musical performance.
The audience experienced a glorious conclusion to this evening with the 1st prize winner in the horn category, Achille Fait (Italy) and the Concerto for horn op. 150 by York Bowen (1884-1961). In the three movements - Allegro non troppo - Poco Lento e Serioso - Allegro molto, con spirito - Achille Fait was able to convince the audience with his sovereign playing, coupled with a wonderful tone, a mature interpretation and a creative variety. He was again excellently supported by the Clara Schumann Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of GMD Leo Siberski.
It was a worthy conclusion to a high-quality competition in which there were really no losers. One can only proclaim:
Here's to a new one!