hungarian center
for early music

Frühlingsreise / Spring Journey

23 April, 2023 - 6:00 PM


Spring Journey

Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809): “Arianna a Naxos” Cantata a voce sola, Hob. XXVIb:2, 1790
Johann Baptist Vanhal (1739 – 1813): Sonata for clarinet and piano in E flat major
Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828): Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, D.965, op. 129

Adriána Kalafszky – soprano
Márton Egri – historical clarinet
Mihály Berecz – fortepiano

Admission is free, but registration is required.


The text of Schubert’s The Shepherd on the Rock is borrowed in part from Wilhelm Müller’s poem Der Berghirt, from the poet on whose poems he composed his famous song cycle ‘Winterreise‘. Our concert ‘Spring Journey‘, in contrast to the death theme of ‘Winterreise’, focuses on rebirth, with songs that draw on the life symbols associated with spring, the awakening of nature and love.

In romantic music, the clarinet was considered one of the most suitable instruments to accompany the singing voice, as the two timbres blend in perfect harmony. Thanks to its technical development, the clarinet has been used as a solo instrument by many composers. These works were often written especially for a talented instrumentalist, so there are many virtuoso instrumental solos to be found, but the clarinet was also used to evoke the pastoral idyll in folk songs: Louis Spohr’s strophic German songs with clarinet solo have a folksy feel, and Schubert’s ‘The Shepherd on the Rock‘ is about the beauty and solitude of mountain life, with the recurring elements of the echoing playing of the clarinet and the imitative yodel of the vocal solo.

The voice of the fortepiano accompanies the singing voice and the clarinet. In this concert, we consider it important to present the works to the Hungarian audience on period instruments – historical clarinet and fortepiano – and in historical tuning (A=430Hz), trying to approximate the sound ideal of how these works might have sounded at the time of their creation.

Our programme also includes Haydn’s Cantata Ariadne on the Island of Naxos. The work was probably written for home performance, as the composer’s use of a highly expressive keyboard accompaniment for the vocal part suggests. From Haydn’s correspondence we know that the work was premiered in amateur musical circles in Vienna in 1790 at Schottenhof, where it was most probably performed by the 16-year-old Josepha ‘Peperl’ von Genzinger, under the composer’s instruction. The work brings the story of Ariadne to a tragic conclusion. The passion, the pain, disappointment, anger and hope of the Cretan princess, unfaithfully abandoned by Theseus, and then her death wish, describe a sumptuous, dramatic and difficult arc, creating a magnificent musical gem.