A complete audio-visual experience was delivered by the Terwey sisters on Saturday in the Lausitzhalle – a delight.
There are classical concerts in their purest form: the solemnly dressed musician routinely plays on a discretely designed stage. This image was stirred up a good quarter of a century ago by Nigel Kennedy and others. A
brilliant musician does not need to stand on the stage dressed ultra-conservatively ...
The music critic Jon Landau once wrote: “I have seen the future of rock’ n’ roll. And its name is Bruce Springsteen.”
The Hoyerswerdaer audience probably saw the future of classical concerts as part of the 50th Hoyerswerdaer Music Festival on Saturday. And its name in this particular case was “Terweys’ Visual Classic” – a complete audio-visual experience.
Berenice Christin Terwey ... is gifted. You can hear it, see it, feel it. Her sister Philomela Eva Terwey matches her on the grand piano in every way. The sisters both completed master classes during their musical education and now travel the world with individual commitments, but also together with their collaborative work.
For this, they have picked out six pieces and an encore that they could play quite simply on any stage in the world and would reap praise. But the choreographer Nici Grandison and the lighting designer Günter Jäckle have provided matching video animations to the pieces that can be seen on large screens in the background, the paper balloons on the stage always shine in a different light and the wardrobe of the two artists is adapted to each of the pieces.
Chopin’s raindrop prelude is played in rain capes, red costumes fit perfectly to the tango world of Astor Piazzolla. And the, well, robot costume including LED belt of the violinist has long been the critics’ favourite. The actor Robert Schupp is in turn ideally cast for the stories he tells before each piece - from the first-person perspective of the respective musician, whether Mozart, Ravel or Sarasate.
So there’s something to ponder, something to listen to and something to look at. And sometimes also something to marvel at. The complete show seemed just perfect: from the virtuosity of the musicians to the narrative style of the actor right up to the choreography of the images and the stage lighting. All in all a delight. The applause from the audience was long. But if something is perfect, and there is no room left for spontaneity, what comes next? Well, only time will tell.
By Uwe Schulz
Sächsische Zeitung (Germany)
- Dear Terwey Sisters - is your concert programme actually still classical music or, is it already in the best possible sense of the word, pop, that is intended to introduce young listeners to classical music?
Our concert programme is, from the musical point of view, classic from Mozart to Brahms and Sarasate to Piazzolla. However, with our concert show “Terweys' Visual Classic”, which combines classical music with video projections (visuals), lighting dramaturgy and the dramatic arts to form memorable stage scenes, we do, of course, also aim to appeal to a younger audience, and so far we’ve always managed this with great success.
- “Stories to hear” – storytelling has a tradition in music, for example “Yes” in the “Wonderous Stories”. But these include texts. How do you transport your messages?
On the one hand, of course, through our musical interpretation, but then also through our visuals that convey our imagination in a video stage set, and through our actor who takes on the role of the respective composer.
- Who chose the musical basis for your programme?
We put the musical programme together ourselves. In addition, we also create the visuals and the overall concept of the concert show. This is very labour intensive and can take up to a year from the first idea to the implementation.
- What was the decisive factor when it came to selecting the respective pieces for your repertoire?
We love the compositions we play, the programme is varied. And that’s something our audience likes, too.
- Are your pieces “fixed” compositions or do they evolve during the performance itself as improvisations, also influenced by the light show part?
Light show part? That sounds a bit too much like Jean Michel Jarre. First, we work out the musical programme; all the other components such as visuals, lighting design, dramaturgical effects, etc. then adapt to the character of the compositions. But the music is always at the centre. In compositions such as the Gypsy Airs by Sarasate, I (Philomela) do also frequently like to improvise though.
- What came first – the music, that has become an image – or a mood, a colour, an image to which music was then found?
Clearly, the music! But we always create a scene around the composition. Brahms, for example, who was known to be very close to nature. With his Sonata no. 2 we show impressionistic garden and lake landscapes, with warm sunlight on stage. The viewer should feel like he is experiencing a warm summer day in the great outdoors.
- Do you have a favourite piece in your repertoire?
I (Philomela) especially love the two tangos by Piazzolla. This music has inspired and moved me again and again during our concert tours through Latin America and I associate a lot of wonderful memories with it, especially of Buenos Aires. I (Berenice) especially like the Sonata by Ravel. Since, like Ravel, I am also interested in new technologies, we had the idea of combining the two and dressing me as a robot doll for the Sonata.
- Can plaintive or exuberant moods be put better into a total art work of music and light?
Maybe not better, but it’s definitely different. Through the combination of music and video stage sets we address the audience in a way that appeals to the different senses. We offer something for the ears and eyes!
- What do you listen to when you are not listening to and playing classical music - or do you prefer silence?
We like to listen to jazz, but are also interested in the latest music trends. Otherwise, however, silence also does us good.
- Are you also inspired by the environments that you perceive around your concert venues? In and around Hoyerswerda itself there are gigantic opencast mines as well as re-natured havens; Sorbian traditions as well as modern life with all its light and dark sides, such as the high-tech elements of the energy sector and city deconstruction (means: demolition of whole neighbourhoods ...)?
We always let ourselves be inspired on our travels by the land, people and their culture.
- To put the question again more specifically: Will you find time “alongside” the concert, to see something of Hoyerswerda?
We’ll definitely try to!
- Do you have a life motto that you would also recommend to your audience?
Be open to new things.
By Uwe Jordan
The artistic conception of the Terwey sisters‘ multiple art show had something new and innovative in it which we had not expected and which we need in vmajor concert halls and venues to welcome younger people. The multi-disciplinary project joins classical music repertoire for violin and piano, animated stage set visuals, lighting design, and dramaturgy to an amazing stage performance, a synthesis of picture and sound. The Terwey sisters led us through a surreal atmosphere and unbelievable stage sets to their expressive music. …
First part of the program were excerpts of Bach‘s partita no3 for violin solo. It‘s noticeable how Berenice Terwey allowed smoothness and beauty of tone to take second place to her sense of the music‘s dynamic and expressive demands. Her interpretation of the Loure and Gavotte en rondeau were elegan, delicately sensuous and remarkable for her sheer musicality.
In the following sonata no 2 by Johannes Brahms, the animated stage set invited the audience to a walk through a colourful dream of romantic gardens. The sisters were showing emotional maturity as well as lyrical intensity. Their amazing interpretation demonstrated the unbelievable balance between the pianist and the violinist that bordered on telepathy, as well as natural affinity with Brahms‘ musical language. A sophisticated elaboration of this lyric master piece.
Philomela Terwey ... performed the Grande Valse brillante and the Mazurka op 34/1, two master pieces by Frederic Chopin, with a range of expression, a total unique soundworld which showed the essence of Chopin‘s creative thoughts.The grace and beauty of her impeccable perfomance lied in the finesse of execution and the fluid movements.
... Of all the parts of the Suite Italienne by Igor Stravinski, the Tarantella and the Gavotte most explicitly require the pianist and the violinist to act together, as partners in a magic act. The sisters‘ musicianship was everywhere in evidence. In this work, Stravinski is playful, massive, melodious, and sweet by turn. The audience could discover all these aspects. Clean, crisp lines and easy-going charm lent to this music from the 18th century re-imagined by Stravinsky. Love, passion, regret, and humour dotted their emotional landscape. They set emotions in motion.
A gipsy whirlwind was the virtuoso piece „Zigeunerweisen“ by Pablo de Sarasate which brought both virtuosity and lyrical passion to fine performance. Berenice Terwey‘s brilliant technique, warm, glowing tone quality and dramatic intensity led this piece to a fiery highpoint.
Berenice and Philomela Terwey earned a standing ovation for an evening of complete delight. The artists thanked the audience with two encores. (kh)