Altenburg – Allegro Vivo: A splendid start in the Abbey Library

“Almost 300 years ago, Abbot Placidus Much designed the abbey as a meeting place, for people as well as for the arts, and here we can celebrate the opening of the 44th Allegro Vivo chamber music festival,” said Nikolaus Straka, Managing Director of the Academia Allegro Vivo association. at the beginning of his speech in the wonderful baroque library of Altenburg Abbey.

Special program put together

He also found clear words in view of the existing conflict between Ukraine and Russia: “We also have guests, musicians and course participants from these two countries here. And they should celebrate with us together for the music.”

A special program has been put together for this day with a divertimento by WA Mozart that conveys optimism and joy, a commissioned composition by the Swiss Daniel Schnyder – Switzerland is the beginning of the journey through neighboring countries – and a chamber symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich as a memorial Fascism and War.

Take time as a godsend

In his profound words of welcome, Abbot Thomas Renner focused on considerations of time in view of this year’s topic “Momentum”. There are two Greek words for this term, namely “chronos”, which means measurable time in seconds or minutes, and “kairos”, which designates the right moment that one should not let pass. “Take time as a gift from heaven, be open and alert to special moments in your life.”

View music as food for the soul

And member of parliament Franz Linsbauer, who quoted George Orwell (“We devote ourselves to the most precious resource, time.”), said: “As an organic farmer, I know what healthy food means for our body, but the soul also needs healthy food – and Allegro Vivo is a tremendous treasure for our souls.”

Vahid Khadem-Missagh and composer Daniel Schnyder shone as soloists.

Photo by Dieter Schewig

The musical prelude to the 44th festival was more than splendid. Vahid Khadem-Missagh and his Academia Allegro Vivo began by playing WA Mozart’s Divertimento for strings, KV 136, which he had written when he was 16, as delicate and powerful, as lively and solemn as one could only hear a Mozart can play. A brilliant Allegro serves as the first movement, the middle section savors the cantabile, and the finale forms a dance-like presto. Here – and especially in the following pieces – Khadem-Missagh led the brilliantly playing Academia Allegro Vivo perfectly and safely with big gestures and small finger-pointers, as a reward for all their performances there was thunderous applause in the library, which was almost filled to the last seat and a lot of “Bravo” shouts.

Premiere by and with Daniel Schnyder

A premiere was the commissioned composition of Allegro Vivo for the Swiss composer and saxophonist Daniel Schnyder, who had traveled all the way from New York to guide Khadem-Missagh through the work. The two soloists shone in the concerto for violin, tenor saxophone and string orchestra with virtuoso playing, the audience was almost completely charmed by the more classical opening, the blues-style middle section and the finale, which was somewhat based on the big band sound , excited.

For the victims of war and fascism

Finally, the conclusion with Dmitri Shostakovich’s chamber symphony, op. The trigger was his visit to Dresden, when he visited the city destroyed in World War II, and under this impression dedicated his composition to the victims of the war and fascism. The string orchestra with its almost two dozen musicians conveyed a rich, symphonic sound impression, the individual voice groups subtle tonal nuances.

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