The Swiss Orchestra Winterthurer Symphoniker performed with the Cecilian Choir and the Bangalore School of Music Chamber Orchestra to stunning effect

The Chowdiah Memorial Hall was packed to capacity and that’s saying something for Bangalore’s large music loving fraternity. But then, this was the maiden visit of the Swiss Orchestra Winterthurer Symphoniker, who performed with the Cecilian Choir and the Bangalore School of Music Chamber Orchestra recently. With a 100 strong musicians on stage, this was a treat not many wanted to miss.

Daniel Bricher, Head of Operations of the Bangalore International Airport had been part of the Swiss Orchestra and was instrumental, along with the ICCR in bringing them to Bangalore. “Since I live here I thought it would be a great opportunity to bring Indian and Swiss artistes together to converse through music.

Lawyers and doctors played

“We come from varied backgrounds — we are teachers, lawyers, doctors and engineers in our orchestra who love European classical music,” explained Christopher Whiting, the gregarious and versatile conductor of the symphony. The programme opened with the ‘Overture to Freischutz for 9 wind instruments’ by Carl Maria von Weber.

A line up of delicate woodwind instruments, with Renate Fiebig and Mirjam Pfister on the bassoon, Beat Denzler and Daniel Bircher on the clarinet, Tom Brett and Werner Heiniger on the French horn, Paul Burgi and Ulrich Weilenmann on oboes and Andrea Herzog and Kurt Tobler on flutes, were the stars of this piece, with the rest of the orchestra backing them up.

The Cecelian Choir then performed along with the orchestra for Joseph Haydn’s ‘Der Strum’ (The Storm) and Robert Schumann’s ‘Nachtlied’ (Night Song) Opus 108. Amazingly the instruments and the choir’s harmony dramatically brought out the crashing of thunder and the fearsome flashes of lightening of the storm. The theatrical rolling of the bass by Bjorn Baumgartner and Rudolf Constam helped conjure the exact momentum of a fierce storm.

The text of Robert Schumann’s ‘Night Song’, sung by the Cecelian choir, was written by Hebbel, a poet greatly admired by Schumann. Despite the power of the orchestra, the Cecelian choir was able to brilliantly hold its own through the piece.

Schumann’s muse was insomnia and how a human being who cannot sleep, walks around feeling his insignificance in the vastness of the sleeping universe. An evocative and brief clarinet solo tenderly drew the piece to a close.

Saving the best for the last, the Orchestra performed Beethoven’s ‘Symphony No 6’ in F Major, better known as the ‘Pastoral Symphony’. The piece is familiar to most of us, because some of its movements have been used by Disney in their Tom and Jerry cartoons.

Aruna Sunderlal, Director-Founder of the Bangalore School of Music said the school was proud to be associated with an event of this magnitude, where there was a collaboration of artistes from East and West.