Dear audience of Málaga Clásica,

Welcome to the VII edition of the international chamber music festival. Titled Explosion, this year’s edition dives into the romantic era and its vast variety of musical geniuses and works. Exploring the dramatic contrasts, passion and inventiveness that composers bravely sought to portray through music, each concert taps into what made this time-period simply striking compared to what came before. Beethoven, as a pioneer, started stretching the boundaries of classicism, breaking the rules of everything that seemed to have been neatly placed into systems. With the expansion of the orchestras, new sounds and a wider range of dynamics could be taken into use, and musical structures came in all variants. The fact that virtuoso players like Liszt, Chopin, Paganini, Wieniawski, Joachim and Sarasate started emerging, gave composers the initiative to write much more technically complex music for the instruments, giving birth to some of the most beloved concertos for solo instruments and orchestra.

The chamber music works and excerpts from great operas presented in this festival have been carefully selected to show different ways in which emotion surfaces. The works range from the more intimate expressions, pure light and surprising change of colors, to the dramatic expansion of sounds found in bigger ensembles like sextets and octets. Because of the development of the modern piano, this instrument became an important part of the chamber music repertoire, often taking on a leading role. At the same time string instruments evolved, making it easier to project sound. Having a greater access to both better instruments and performers of a high level, composers could enrich their work as a whole expanding the content of the different voices, giving them interchangeable roles within the ensemble. Therefore a challenge for the players, due to the needed balance between the instruments in chamber music from the romantic era and onwards, is to be an individual performer conversing with your colleagues while sticking at times to a unified interpretation. That is why a performance of any of these pieces is so special in a concert setting, as it will never be the same twice, being impossible to repeat the exact conversation and response between the musicians.

The audience of classical music has always had an impact on its development. In the case of the epoch around the 1800s, the sudden growth of an audience from the middle class, gave room for public concerts, whereas before most classical concerts where restricted to the aristocrats and higher class. Being free of the previous strict influence of their supporting patrons, the classical composers could write for their now paying audience as they liked, inventing new chamber music formations, made to sound great in bigger concert halls, and use daring counterpoint and harmonic progressions for a different kind of expression. Perhaps the fact that this music was really written for anybody who would listen to it, and the creators being so free of boundaries, is what has made the popularity of romantic music never fail. We all seek to feel freedom and expression of emotion in one way or another, and truly through music one can find that.

Jesús Reina & Anna Margrethe Nilsen

John Rockwell


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