Islamabad: It was an enthralling classical music performance by the famous German ‘Ensemble 4.1 Piano Windtet’, who performed for a large gathering at the spacious hall of a local hotel Tuesday evening. The concert was organised by the German Embassy in Islamabad.
The ensemble was led by internationally acclaimed Clarinet player, Alexander Glucksmann of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. Other members, and equally famous included Jorg Schneider, the principal oboe of the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, Christoph Knitt, the principal bassoon at the Postdam Chamber Academy, Sebastian Posch, a distinguished horn player, and Thomas Hoppe, one of the finest pianists of his generation.
The German Ambassador, Mr Alfred Grannas, in his inaugural address, emphasized the unifying power of art, particularly music, transcending geographical and cultural boundaries, further enhancing the cultural exchange between Pakistan and Germany. “It is unique and first of its kind. The ‘Ensemble 4.1’ was founded on the invitation of the Director of the Goethe Institute, Karachi 10 years ago and today’s performance is to mark the 10th anniversary of founding of the ‘Ensemble 4.1,” the German Ambassador said.
“The Ensemble 4.1 is starting their international tour from Pakistan because it was founded here 10 years ago. It served as the catalyst for its formation,” Ambassador Grannas said in his brief speech to the audience.
The performance was spell-binding and audience was indeed enchanted as the music was soothing as a lullaby. Music rippled and floated around like scented breeze on undulating prairies, refreshing and soul lifting. It was indeed an extraordinary and rare treat to listen to in a country where there are no such performances held and such opportunities are offered by some of the foreign missions only, especially by the German and the French in the past.
The spacious hall was filled with audience, both from the Diplomatic Corps as well as local music lovers who have an ear for such delicate classical music, much before the start of performance and the hotel staff was hurriedly brining in more seats to accommodate the guests standing behind the rows. The artists took the first bow after the second performance and received a hearty and enthusiastic round of applause from the audience.
There were some segments in the performance where one may feel like is if Cinderella is dancing and floating around, or Gaston LeGume, the villain of ‘Becuty and the Best’ animation film, charging up the treacherous hell to the castle deep in the forest where the ‘Beast’ was living in isolation since the curse befell him, if one may close one’s eyes and let the childhood memories come flooding back. At the end of the performance the Ensemble took repeated bows to the thunderous applause from the audience.
Alexander Glucksmann, the principal clarinet of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, spoke briefly after each performance to explain the history and importance of the symphony they had played for the understanding, especially of the Pakistani audience. A press release issued by the German Embassy, while giving the background of the Ensemble 4.1 said that over the years, the ensemble has achieved remarkable milestones, including 125 concerts, the release of two critically acclaimed CDs, and a prestigious 'OPUS Klassik' nomination.
“In celebration of their 10th anniversary, the ensemble has graced some of the world's most iconic venues, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, the Wigmore Hall in London, and Carnegie Hall in New York. As a tribute to their beginnings, Ensemble 4.1 has returned to Pakistan, where their journey started in Karachi,” the press release said. The ensemble's performance showcased a repertoire spanning from the late 19th to the 20th century, earning thunderous applause from the discerning audience. The program included masterpieces by revered German composers such as Ludwig van Beethoven's "Quintett Es-Dur op.16" and Walter Gieseking's "Quintett B-Dur," among other exquisite encore pieces, the press release added.
Ensemble 4.1 has received global acclaim through extensive tours and recitals in countries including China, Pakistan, Austria, Germany, Algeria, Canada, and the USA. They have graced prestigious venues in cities such as Berlin, Istanbul, New York City, Toronto, Ottawa, Karachi, Shanghai, and Torino.