“From my Homeland” is the title of this year’s Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, which takes place from 5 – 8 August 2021 and focuses on the music of Antonin Dvořák. Over four days, Leif Ove Andsnes and guest artists will explore the great Czech composer’s works and look at how the national romantic movement of the period influenced both Dvořák and his contemporaries. Special tribute will also be paid to Piazzolla in the 100th anniversary year.

This year’s guest artists include Zlata Chochieva and Joachim Carr (piano), Josef Špaček, Johan Dalene and Daniela Braun (violin), Sheku Kanneh-Mason (cello), Arnulf Ballhorn (double bass) and the Dover String Quartet. Joining them on stage are Per Arne Glorvigen (bandoneon / composer), Lene Grenager (composer/ cellist ) and 16 musicians from KonstKnekt, an inspirational initiative which gives young Norwegian musicians the opportunity to collaborate with members of the Berlin Philharmonic. This year’s lectures will be given by authors Erik Fosnes Hansen and Erika Fatland and Art History Professor Gunnar Danbolt.

Dvořák’s music has a particular Bohemian appeal, just as Grieg’s music feels particularly Norwegian” said Leif Ove Andsnes. “Both composers were seeking to find a language that incorporated their country’s folk tunes and believed that music should have a national identity and roots. This is very much what this festival’s theme is about.

I find Dvorak’s music fascinating. One of his great qualities was that he could take very simple, even trivial material, and turn it into a real jewel through a characterful wealth of melodic and harmonic invention. He would start with an easy folk-like tune and gradually start to polish it, transforming it into something really wonderful, like a diamond that becomes multidimensional. Dvořák was productive in so many genres and, although several of his compositions are well known, many are rarely performed. I believe that works such as his Poetic Tone Pictures Op. 85, String Quartets Op. 61 and 106 and his String Quintet Op. 77 – all of which will be performed this year in Rosendal – are vastly underrated.”

 In addition to the main focus on Dvořák, this year’s festival also features works by Smetana, Janáček, Enescu, Rachmaninov and Grieg, all of whom were seeking to create a national identity in their music. “In this context it feels natural to include the very contrasting music of Piazzolla” commented Andsnes “because he is the real pride of Argentinians for the way that he developed the tango tradition”. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Piazzolla’s birth, Norwegian bandoneon player and composer, Per Arne Glorvigen, will present several works by the master of tango and premiere a new work of his own, commissioned by the festival, “Corazones en el viento”. Norwegian cellist and composer, Lene Grenager, will also present her compositions.

“The 4 day experience of this music festival is indescribable. With the backdrop of such wonderful scenery, the festival is somehow augmented by a deeper concentration of the theme and the high level of performance. It is impressive.”

Asia’s Music Weekly, Rudolf Tang