Programme Guide

String and wind instruments are also called “melodic instruments”. In reality, however, the most beautiful themes in symphonies and solo concertos are very unfairly allocated. As in opera, where sopranos and tenors regularly get the biggest applause, in the concert hall it is mostly the high voices that get to shine: the violin is used more often than the cello, the cello in turn more often than the double bass, and the same applies to the relationship of the flute to the bassoon and the trumpet to the tuba.

This year, Philharmoniker horn player and presenter Sarah Willis has once again come up with something special for the Christmas family concert: entitled “Jingle Bass Rock”, she and her orchestral colleagues will lead the low instruments out of their musical shadowy existence. The audience will be able to hear how beautiful melodies sound when they are played by tuba, bass trombone and contrabassoon.

Of course, there are also well-known appearances of low instruments in the standard repertoire. Camille Saint-Saëns knew, for example, that the elephant could not easily be represented by a piccolo and entrusted its musical representation in the Carnival of the Animals to a double bass. This number, like all the pieces in this festive programme, is performed in a new version by trombonist Joshua Davis, who has been providing Sarah Willis’s Christmas Concerts with customised arrangements from Australia for many years. Highlights include contributions from double basses and trombones, each in their own quartets. The list of composers in this concert ranges from Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach to Rossini, and from Tchaikovsky to film composer Henry Mancini.

And as every year, the audience, together with the presenter, should keep an eye out for Father Christmas – will he show himself or is his hiding place just too good this time?

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