Like the scholarship holders of the Karajan Academy, the composers of the works performed here were also young at the time they were written. The Sinfonia concertante from 1779 is the last composition Mozart wrote for solo violin and, at the same time, it is his only work which features a solo viola. Tabea Zimmermann and Noah Bendix-Balgley are the soloists in this piece, characterised by spirit, melancholy, and virtuosic playfulness.
Shostakovich began work on his Two Pieces for String Octet at the age of 18. The first of the two is characterised by an earnestness reminiscent of late Beethoven, while the second is marked by dissonances and abrupt rhythms that already clearly announce Shostakovich’s personal style.
Brahms wrote his two serenades as he was moving from the piano pieces, lieder and chamber works of his early creative period to larger-scale forms. His second contribution to the genre is unmistakably linked to the model of Mozart’s wind serenades, especially in the wonderful woodwind passages of the slow movement. As Brahms expanded its Classical instrumentation to include low strings but do without violins, here is a rare opportunity for Tabea Zimmermann to take on the role of concertmaster from the desk of the first violas.