Thoughts & Projects
Thoughts on Bernstein Symphony No.2
Leonard Bernstein wrote his 2nd Symphony after W.H Auden’s “Age of Anxiety”. Completely overwhelmed by this opinion-dividing masterpiece, he endeavored to write a symphonic poem in which he matches the timelessly excessive honesty of Auden. The pianist plays the protagonist and takes on the difficult task of portraying the characters and thoughts of the four actors as they make their way through an evening of ever increasing inebriation and existential parlance. As described by Bernstein in the score, the moods range from tender to grotesque, and the piece unfolds as the pianist speaks, murmurs, dances and fights with and against the orchestra until a culminating piano chord reunites humanity with its god. It is a thrilling and virtuosic journey!
Andreas Haefliger spoke to Hugo Shirley for Gramophone about the opportunities hidden inside Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.
'For me, obviously,' says Andreas Haefliger, 'this piece stands out in my repertoire.' The Swiss pianist readily admits that Pictures at an Exhibition is an exception in a repertoire that has tended to be 'extremely Germanic'. But he makes no apology. 'You can really let your imagination roam. My childhood was not just steeped in the piano. I read a tremendous amount – fairy tales – and my fantasy world grew. This is a piece where [that aspect] can come out.' Later on, he elaborates: 'I feel that a large portion of what we do as pianists is create worlds, and for those worlds we don't need intellectualism. We need imagination.'
read the full article in the june 2018 edition of gramophone.
Presto Classical Interview
Andreas Haefliger was interviewed by Presto Classical's Katherine Cooper about his Perspectives series - it's origins, development and future plans.
"I initially started looking at the Beethoven sonatas as a cycle and playing all-Beethoven programmes, but as fascinating as that can be I felt that something was missing. So I began experimenting with surrounding the sonatas with pieces that sometimes I just ‘put in the room’ – it’s not necessarily about influence (though sometimes connections that you can explain do emerge), but more a kinetic process of my thinking. Each programme that’s come together has become, to me, more and more fascinating as the project has progressed"
Read the full interview here
Haefliger’s latest release in the series, Perspectives 7, was also selected as one of Presto Classical’s April ‘Hi-Res Highlights’.
Perspectives 7 Listening Guide
andreas haefliger's latest recording, PERSPECTIVES 7 is released spring 2018.
Perspectives 7 opens with Alban Berg’s Piano Sonata, Op. 1, a highly concentrated work in which most of the music can be traced back to the two opening gestures. This is followed by Liszt’s impressionistic Légende No. 1 ‘St. Francis of Assisi: The Sermon to the Birds’, in which we seem to hear a flock of birds chirp warble and sing. At the core of the programme is Beethoven’s Op. 101 Sonata – a work which in Haefliger’s opinion points more clearly towards Schumann than any other of the composer’s sonatas. But the grand finale of this amply-filled disc (86 minutes!) is nevertheless a highly colourful and expressive performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition, recorded – as is the entire disc – in the exceptional acoustics of the Mozartsaal of the Vienna Konzerthau.
My Opera City... Zurich
Andreas haefliger recently spoke to opera magazine about the impact of the city of zurich on his musical life
"I often see my whole life as an opera, and, having heard all that music in my childhood, it has also really influenced the way I play the piano. Even piano playing itself in many ways feels like opera! The art form has always been present in my life, but it all started with me accompanying the students of my father - the tenor Ernst Haefliger - when I was five years old: that was my education.
The history in Zurich of my family stars with my father going to the seminary in nearby Wettingen. He studied to become a regular teacher there, but was taught by Karl Grenacher, an important musical figure. In 1935 Grenacher set up a series of summer concerts in Wettingen, which anyone going to Zurich should look up - they're still happening in the same cloister there to this day. He took my father under his wing and introduced him to the conductor Volkmar Andreae, who then got the top manager of the time in the city to send my father on a full two-year scholarship to study in Vienna with Patzak... so that was the beginning of that."
read the full article in the march 2018 edition of opera magazine.
Louisiana Boathouse Ensemble
In its ideal form, chamber music should be practiced by a group of friends in small surroundings to a small but dedicated audience.
With this ideal in mind, the Louisiana Boathouse Ensemble was formed in 2012 at the beautiful Louisiana Museum near Copenhagen.
Each season, Haefliger dedicates a portion of his time studying and performing both new and traditional chamber music repertoire with top musicians and friends in Louisiana. Their upcoming European and Asian tour in January 2019 will be the first time he takes this intimate experience to a wider platform. Each musician in the ensemble enjoys an independent top-flight career, and their on- and off-stage friendship forms a strong ensemble with a unique sound.