Programs for Ensemble

Between Dungeon & Crown

“This race of men is difficult to govern; that takes greater wisdom than the affairs of the state!”

(Frederick the Great, king of Prussia, about his musicians)
Persecuted as serfs, worshipped as heroes, admired as child prodigies, mistreated and downtrodden, united in friendship, pursued by adversaries, showered with riches, driven by arrogance, consumed with jealousy, difficult to govern, impossible to control yet easy to seduce: princes and musicians have not always had an easy time with one another.
On the one hand: godlike power, immeasurable wealth, and untiring aspiration towards beauty and art - on the other: divine talent, immeasurable knowledge, and the desire for recognition and status. Mutual dependence had become deeply ingrained in their relationship, and music was an insoluble bond that formed the basis of friendships as well as enmities. This codependency was both a model and a reflection of social relationships – and also the realm where these relationships were subtly called into question.

“Between dungeon and crown” is a collage of music from the Baroque to the Early Romantic period, combined with episodes, facts and reports from contemporary sources, which shed light on the multi-faceted relationship between princes and musicians. Letters, newspaper articles, servants’ records and police reports alternate with free verbal presentation, creating a lively atmosphere in which music and narrative interact with each other.

Transverse flute, natural horn, violin, viola, violoncello



From primaeval sound to art music

Signals – from the shrill shriek of fright in prehistoric times to the inaudible electrical impulse of today’s technological world – signals are deeply rooted in the repertoire of our communication.


Signals warn, they protect, they arouse fear. They indicate departure and herald homecomings. They mark the domains of gods and emperors, command humans and animals alike, and they accompany us through life and in death.


Since ages, there is an archaic amplifier for signals: the horn. None of the other instruments is so closely and inseparably connected with signals as is this symbol of great power in the animal kingdom.


In six steps, the concert demonstrates, how signals developed from one single note to a distinctive musical metaphor. Conch shells, Jewish shofars and French hunting horns will take the audience back into an archaic world of sounds from four millennia. In combination with works from the Classical period, they will experience how the sound of the horn found its special place in art music, which allowed Robert Schumann to aptly describe it as the “soul of the orchestra”. The miniature arrangements composed exclusively for this concert further trace the path of the signal in the Romantic period, in film soundtracks and on into the present.


Ensemble: 2 flutes, 4 horns, 2 violins, viola, violoncello, double-bass
Chamber orchestra:  2 flutes 4 horns / strings



Meister der Leidenschaft

Nachdem die gefühlsberauschten Entdecker des galanten Stils die schroffe Felsküste barocker Kontrapunktik erleichtert hinter sich gelassen hatten...

...konnten die eifrigen Kartenzeichner dieser erwartungsfrohen Pioniere schon bald neue Eilande auf ihrem musikalischen Globus verzeichnen. Zwar hielten deren liebreiche Küstenstriche den tektonischen Bewegungen jener Zeit nicht lange stand, doch als die Grazie im Aufruhr der tosenden Meere versank, konnten ihre Früchte lange genug auf den unruhigen Wassern treiben, um auf dem vulkanischem Gestein eines gigantischen, aus den Tiefen aufsteigenden sinfonischen Kontinentes erneut Wurzeln zu schlagen.


Im Hochbarock wurde die Wissenschaft der Musik von ihren Großmeistern zu kaum noch nachvollziehbaren Höhen getrieben. Ihre Nachfolger wandten sich von der „Verwissenschaftlichung“ der Musik ab, um dem Gefühlsausdruck neue Bahnen zu brechen. Die Formensuche der empfindsamen Pioniere führt uns auf zwei prominenten Wegen zu den Großmeistern der Wiener Klassik: Auf einen gelangen wir von Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach zu Joseph Haydn, auf dem anderen von Johann Christian Bach zu Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Sowohl Haydn als auch Mozart galt jeweils einer der Bachsöhne als Vorbild und beide haben in den empfindsamen Komponisten ihre Lehrmeister gesehen.

In dem Programm Meister der Leidenschaft stellen wir die experimentelle, aufgewühlte Musik der beiden Bach Söhne in den Kontrast zu der perfekten Ausgeglichenheit der Goldbergvariationen (mit noch größerem Schwergewicht: Die Kunst der Fuge) ihres Vaters, um die eruptive emotionale Kraft ihrer Musik über den Konzertverlauf hinweg erlebbar zu machen.


Der erste Teil ist Carl Phillip, der zweite Johann Christian Bach gewidmet. Am Ende des jeweiligen Konzertteils steht ein Satz aus einer Sinfonie ihrer jeweiligen „Meisterschüler“ Haydn und Mozart. Hier steht die Frage im Raum, ob die These der Altmeister „Musik als Wissenschaft“ und die Antithese ihrer Söhne „Musik als Gefühl“  in der klassischen Sinfonie zu einer Synthese gefunden haben.


Robbed kisses, stolen hearts

Where Cupid’s arrows strike, they leave gods and men powerless – at the mercy of their own passion and of the other’s desire.

Thus Pluto already fell victim to Venus by Cupid’s arrows, and Proserpina despite her laments in turn fell victim to Pluto who carried her off to Hades. Yet the fruits of the underworld were tempting, and had Proserpina not tasted the pomegranate seeds she could have been saved. The story ends with a compromise: For one half of the year Proserpina descends to the underworld to rule it, during which time bleak winter reigns on earth.

Even in ancient mythology, the relationship between the sexes is already characterized by deceit, abduction and violence, but the line separating these from love and devotion does not always seem to be clearly drawn: Rome would probably have been doomed soon after it was founded if Romulus had not cunningly abducted the Sabine women. Still, it was the daughters who later opposed being rescued by their fathers, wishing to remain with their new husbands.


In Robbed kisses, stolen hearts the Compagnia di Punto together with Italian soprano Raffaela Milanesi traces love’s intrigues. Serenades by Joseph Haydn and Antonio Rosetti form a frame around arias from Mozart’s operas in which female characters sing of love’s deceits and desires, joys and woes.


Soprano, 2 flutes, 2 horns, 2 violins, viola, violoncello, double bass

"An intelligent combination of various types of music from entirely different contexts all of a sudden creates a new situation. Such reinterpretations and new perspectives are what a festival programmer is looking for much more than mere repertory or tour programmes which, while usually rehearsed to perfection, all too often offer nothing new."

Richard Lorber, editor of the WDR Early Music section in Zwischentöne.


The Rosetti Mystery

Neither has the young Count of Oettingen-Wallerstein any idea as to the identity of the man whom he finds, helpless after a robbery, in a forest close to his castle in 1773 ...

...nor that within a year's time an event will throw him into deepest mourning and his famous court orchestra into complete uncertainty. But very soon this foundling, under the name of Antonio Rosetti, is the leader of that very court orchestra at Oettingen- Wallerstein, and he remains unfailingly loyal to the Count through all his trials and tribulations. In music and words Compagnia di Punto tells the story of these two destinies inextricably intertwined; this is the background against which music of an exceptional colouring has been created.

The idea for this pasticcio of chamber music was born in close relation to our second CD “Trovatello”. Reports written by Rosetti’s contemporaries, citations from letters and excerpts from Hans Joachim Schädlich’s novel “Concert spiritual” illuminate the manifold facets of the Rosetti mystery.

Variable from 6 to 11 performers
Flute, 2 horns, violins, viola, violoncello

2 flutes, 2 horns, 2 violins, viola, violoncello, double-bass


Beethoven's Salon Musik

Occasional music wasn‘t really Beethoven‘s cup of tea: but that didn‘t keep him from composing for a specific occasion now and then.

To his great annoyance, the success of one or the other of these compositions achieved was greater than he would have liked it to be, but even the contempt of the master himself could not keep the audience from loving his outcast children dearly. Beethoven felt similarly about arrangements of his own compositions: he couldn‘t prevent anyone from writing them, but very clearly forbade any arrangements to be sold under his name.


In the 18th century arrangements and occasional music were considered a natural part of musical life - just as today we take the turning on of a radio or CD player for granted. In the shadow of his great works, Beethoven also created enchanting pieces with a special charm. His friend and student Ferdinand Ries proves that even a great symphony, when skilfully reduced and arranged for a salon setting, loses nothing of its power and depth. With a twinkle in our eye we place ourselves with Beethoven‘s Salon Music on the side of the audience - and at the same time at the feet of the master.



flute, 2 horns, 2 violins, 2 violas, violoncello, contrabass

pianoforte, flute, horn, 2 violins, 2 violas, violoncello, contrabass