Breathtaking sound from the tuba

Norbert neugebauer effeltermuhle/wilhelmsthal – when an upper bavarian duo in medieval shirts and baggy sweaters performs with tuba and keyboard in a barn in the deepest franconian forest – what music they play? Naturally classical. And that from two virtuosos!

Andreas martin hofmeir and barbara schmelz do the honors. To be more precise, her host lars hofmann and his 140 or so guests in the packed tenne of the effeltermuhle. He is also happy about the response: "I had perhaps expected half that number, but so many listeners on a wednesday evening during the vacation season, that’s absolutely great!" His audience, which probably came from all over the district of kronach to the idyllic valley bottom, ranged from an estimated five months to 95 years of age in order to experience the now third performance of the world-famous tuba player with his partner in the local area. You get a contrasting program with predominantly elegiac music pieces and cabaret-like recitations from the autobiography of the bewitched professor, who teaches at the mozarteum in salzburg. He tells of experiences on journeys with his voluminous instrument.

That "they", affectionately called "fanny" by him introduced, attracts attention as a fellow passenger on an airplane or train, and creates all kinds of situational comedy in the process, he easily conveys in his upper bavarian home ideom ("I bin in geisnfeld in der hallerdau aufgwachsn …") and with polt’s humor. An affable, down-to-earth guy who’s hard to imagine in a tuxedo in front of an international orchestra.

His partner also in real life and mother of the baby he brought along restricts herself, however, only to her part on the electric piano. Actually, the duo performs in the combination of tuba and organ, but their pieces also work well that way. Barbara schmelz does not need to hide behind the main protagonist, the church music director of the stift nonnberg in salzburg, prepares the basis for the tuba excursions on a high level.

Even though hofmeir calls these the "crown of musical instrument development usually only played in adaptations of other voices, it sounds like it was "made for this". The by no means only deep tones vibrate simultaneously in the diaphragm and the back muscles, when one sits at the resonating wood of the homely barn. You can’t experience that in a regular concert hall.

In general, for the well-traveled star, it is, by his own admission, "the most beautiful stage in the world", even if he just comes from other performances in argentina, brazil and the rough schleswig-holstein-music-festival. At least for this evening this is certainly true …

By the way, the frankenwaldlers also get their fat off, who he puts on an emotional level with the finns, who supposedly invented the tango.

Musically it is minor-heavy and world-spanning, with emphasis on nordic and sudamerican selections. But also pieces based on english and hungarian folk music will be interpreted. From the bach-dream "air", intoned with an extremely soulful tuba the repertoire ranges from romanticists such as rachmaninov and saint-saens to the contemporary youthful friend jorg duda, who composed the first tuba concertos of all time.

What the ex-labrassbanda-basser brings out of his instrument is simply breathtaking. Most emotional tremoli in the highest registers as well as deepest grumbling tones in fast tempi. After the somewhat roughly measured break, the tango comes to the fore, in between also a faster title ("… Before lars stubbornly falls from the balustrade!"), but all in all it had been allowed to get a little bit more lively. "But whoever orders a tuba concert for his birthday can’t be helped anyway", the maestro makes it clear from the start.

Anyway, the audience liked it very much and the two artists were celebrated with standing ovations after they had once again indulged in melodrama during their encore.


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