Authority, discipline, morals? » Fümms bö wö tää zää uu!« Kurt Schwitters spent nine years, from 1923 to 1932, working on his utterly meaningless sound poem, during years when people were suffering from the aftermath of the First World War, from the economic crisis and the growing influence of the Nazis. The »Ursonate« is seen as a key work of the Dadaist movement, whose representatives rejected all political and social conventions of their time, responding with nonsense art. In a fast-paced film, the remarkable violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, known for her unconventional appearances, takes a new look at Schwitters’s work, extending it together with clarinettist Reto Bieri by adding the likewise abstract element of music.
Note: All Hamburg International Music Festival 2021 concerts are available to stream free of charge. Once premiered, each concert stream can be accessed for the whole festival period.
An overview of all 2021 festival concerts.
Patricia Kopatchinskaja violin
Reto Bieri clarinet
»Ursonate« after Kurt Schwitters (CH 2019) / A Dadaist tone poem, filmed with meaningless pictures and featuring non-actors.
Co-production with Hellerau – European Centre for the Arts, Dresdner Musikfestspiele, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and Lucerne Festival
Symphony No. 3
Pièce for violin and clarinet
Cu Cu / from: Duo Tessuti con diversi Solfeggiamenti, Scherzi, Perfidie et Oblighi / Transcription for ocarina and violin
Jeu / from: Suite, Op. 157b
Es kommt / from: Duos for violin and clarinet
Morgen!, Op. 27/4
Für Reto... wo? / from: Duos for violin and clarinet
Otto Matthäus Zykan
mit Pausen / from: Rhythmic Etudes, H 202 / for violin and keyboard
Sonnerie / from: Duos for violin and clarinet
The Grasshopper and the Ant / from: Au contraire
Johann Sebastian Bach
Invention No. 8 F-Dur BWV 779
Duration: approx. 40 minutes
Patricia Kopatchinskaja – Violin
About Patricia Kopatchinskaja
The Moldovan-born musician Patricia Kopatchinskaja is one of the world’s most brilliant violinists, »a player of rare expressive energy and disarming informality, of whimsy and theatrical ambition« (New York Times). With great versatility and appetite for discovery, she performs a repertoire ranging from the Renaissance to premieres of contemporary works. She has also taken on vocal roles such as Schönberg’s »Pierrot Lunaire« (performed with the Berlin Philharmonic, among other ensembles) and Kurt Schwitter’s Dadaistic Ursonate, a recording of which can be viewed as part of the digital Music Festival.
Kopatchinskaja performs with renowned orchestras and conductors around the world. She has given numerous concerts in Hamburg in recent years, including with Teodor Currentzis’ MusicAeterna Orchestra, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, the SWR Symphonieorchester and Camerata Bern. Her goal, above all, is to make music come alive in new ways through innovative approaches and unfamiliar contexts. The 2016 project »Bye Bye Beethoven« with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra here in Hamburg was a response to what she saw as the ossified concert business, and the »Dies irae« project at the 2017 Lucerne Festival addressed the intensifying environmental crisis. Kopatchinskaja is the Artist in Residence with the SWR Symphonieorchester this season, and residencies with the Bamberg Symphony, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and at the Southbank Centre in London and the Alte Oper in Frankfurt will follow over the next few years.
Her »Death and the Maiden« project with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra from the USA toured the world and won a Grammy. With Camerata Bern, she has also realised the projects »War and Chips« and »Maria Mater Meretrix«, a musical journey through women’s lives with Anna Prohaska.
Reto Bieri – clarinet
About Reto Bieri
The Swiss clarinettist and improviser Reto Bieri has been playing solo and chamber music for over 20 years. This former artistic director is currently bringing a fresh concept to the classical music scene with his brilliant, poetic theme evenings ‘à la DAVOS FESTIVAL’ in cooperation with various chamber orchestras and accompanied by long-standing chamber music partners – in particular violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Reto Bieri regularly performs with renowned orchestras, and at various festivals and prestigious institutions. He releases CD recordings with the Munich-based cult label ECM, most recently the highly praised album ‘quasi morendo’ with string quartet meta4 from Finland.
Reto Bieri grew up with Swiss folk music. Following formative experience playing dance music in taverns and training as a primary school teacher he initially attended music academies in Basel and Zurich, before studying at the prestigious Juilliard School of Music in New York. He was particularly influenced by the composer György Kurtág and his encounters with the writer Gerhard Meier, musician Eberhard Feltz and the clown Dimitri.
Reto Bieri served as Artistic Director of the Swiss DAVOS FESTIVAL – young artists in concert between 2013 and 2018. Since 2012 he has taught at the University of Music in Würzburg, Germany as Professor of Chamber Music.
Supported by the Kühne Foundation, the Hamburg Ministry of Culture and Media, Stiftung Elbphilharmonie and the Förderkreis Internationales Musikfest Hamburg