Tour #5

Classics Swiss Made

16–26 November 2022

Swiss Orchestra
Lena-Lisa Wüstendörfer, conductor
Viviane Chassot, accordion

Concert Programme

Joseph Stalder (1725 Luzern – 1765 Luzern)
Symphony in E-flat major

Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809)
Piano Concerto in D major, Hob XVIII:11 for accordion (orig. piano) and orchestra

Franz Xaver Schnyder von Wartensee (1786 Luzern – 1868)
Ouverture in c minor

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
Symphony No. 8 in F major

This concert opens with Joseph Stalder’s Symphony in E-flat major, a work situated in the transitional period between the late Baroque and the emerging Classical style. Its orchestration is unusual in that it is composed for strings with two horns that alternately provide for witty vivacity and a ceremonial touch. But it’s not just new discoveries such as Stalder’s symphony that can offer us out-of-the-ordinary listening experiences. We find the proof here in Haydn’s last piano concerto, which is presented in a version for accordion and orchestra. Our soloist Viviane Chassot was awarded the Swiss Music Prize 2021, and she here demonstrates impressively just how astonishingly colourful the accordion can be when taken out of the folk world where it has its home, and brought instead into a classical context. She also proves just how differently we hear Haydn’s sound world as a result.

The second part of our concert features an overture by Franz Xaver Schnyder von Wartensee, who like Stalder was also born in Lucerne. He wrote it in 1818 during his early years living in Frankfurt, and it veritably bubbles over with enthusiasm. It is a successful example of the Classical style that needs fear no comparison with Schnyder’s idol, Joseph Haydn. Schnyder von Wartensee came from a patrician family of Canton Lucerne. He is regarded as the most important Swiss composer in the transition from the Classical to the Romantic periods – and yet his works are hardly ever played today. He was an enterprising composer with a large international network who even got to know Beethoven during a year spent in Vienna from 1811 to 1812, just at the time when Beethoven was composing his 8th Symphony – the final work in today’s concert.

Beethoven was preoccupied with contemporary political events as a result of Napoleon’s many years of European dominance and of the subsequent wars of liberation. Schnyder, however, had very different concerns. He lost all his possessions – including his instruments and his manuscripts – in a fire that broke out in Baden bei Wien in 1812, and he thereupon decided to return to Lucerne. What might have happened if Schnyder’s compositions hadn’t been destroyed in the fire, and he had remained in Vienna? Would he perhaps today be a well-known name among the illustrious composers of Viennese Classicism?

Viviane Chassot was born in Zurich and lives today as a freelance musician in Basel. She received her first accordion lessons from Ernst Kaelin at the age of 12, and he encouraged her early on to perform classical polyphonic works on the single-tone accordion (MIII). She also received important encouragement from Gérard Fahr during this early phase of her music education. Chassot completed her studies with Teodoro Anzellotti at the Bern University of the Arts in 2006 with a Master in Performance and Pedagogy. From 2009 to 2013 she lived in Leipzig as a freelance musician. During this time, she received significant support from Eberhard Feltz (Hanns Eisler University of Music, Berlin) and attended numerous master classes with Ferenc Rados, András Schiff, Alfred Brendel and others. In addition to her busy concert schedule, Chassot also gives international master classes. She teaches the accordion at the Winterthur Conservatory and at the Hohner Conservatory in Trossingen. She is a member of the long-established Rotary Club of Basel.

Chassot is continually setting new standards with her interpretations on the accordion. She gives solo and chamber music performances throughout the world, in concert halls such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Gewandhaus Leipzig, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Wigmore Hall and the Zurich Tonhalle. She works with conductors such as Simon Rattle, Riccardo Chailly, David Zinman and Heinz Holliger and makes guest appearances at international festivals. In August 2014 she was Artist in Residence at the Murten Classics Festival. A versatile musician, she crosses stylistic boundaries and combines the genres of classical music, jazz, new music and improvisation. In recent years, Chassot has performed many world premieres and was the winner of a Kranichstein Music Prize. She was also honoured with the Swiss Ambassador’s Award in London in 2015. Chassot is an artistic personality with international charisma and a pioneer in her field, and received the Swiss Music Prize in 2021.