Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Eight Questions for Traveling Musician: Jeanine Krause of the Sprightly Companions (Part Two)

Happy Music Monday... er, Wednesday!  

Travel and music go together so very well.  And many musicians spend significant parts of the year on the road.  This week I am delighted to bring you my interview with Baroque Oboist and constant traveller, Jeanine Krause.  Jeanine lives just outside of Frankfurt, Germany, but she will be in the US for the next few weeks on tour with her ensemble, the Sprightly Companions .  

Today, questions about traveling and music...
AKN:  As a musician on tour, what is the most difficult part of being on the road? 

JK:  I enjoy almost everything about being on tour. But I suspect that it will be difficult to find an internet connection so I can use Skype on a regular basis. It is important for me to share my joys and frustrations with my husband, Sven, who will stay in Germany during this tour.

AKN:  What is your favorite piece on the program?  

JK:  I’ve lived with all the music on this program so long that I love every note of it. Each turn of phrase, each articulation, each slight waiver in the airstream reflects a picture in my head. The Couperin, for example is a labor of love, since the French Baroque is something I’ve learned rather than something I instinctively understand. I know I would have been friends with Henry Purcell. His music rolls through me like a stream. Johann David Heinichen from the court at Dresden is a relatively new discovery for me and probably rarely played in the US. His music allows me to sing with a brilliant palette of colors. Vivaldi is fun because the audience enjoys it so much. 
But my favorite is always JS Bach. I am particularly fulfilled by this work for oboe d’amore because he exploits the instrument’s strengths to a perfection of satisfaction. The highlight for me is working with the singers. They challenge me to seek out new sounds, more nuance. I want to play the text as clearly as they are singing it, sometimes by imitating sometimes by contributing my own ideas, but always in respectful and engaged dialogue.

AKN:  You live and play in Germany, Bach’s homeland. What is it like playing the music of a master in the land where he lived and worked? 

JK:  I’ve been in Germany for over 10 years but the charm has never worn off. In 2002 I was hired to play the Christmas Oratorio with the choir at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, where JS Bach was the Kantor for many years until his death. Dad flew in from Dallas just to hear the concert. That is how meaningful it is to me. Recently, I performed a revival of an opera by J.S. Bach’s son, Johann Christian in Leipzig at the Felix-Mendelssohn-Bartholdy University in Leipzig. 
I am really excited about a concert in Hamburg this coming Lent. We will perform J.S.Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in the Mendelssohn version. We will perform on Romantic instruments. Mendelssohn was responsible for the rediscovery of J.S.Bach’s work. 
But it isn’t just Americans who are moved by such thoughts. The European musicians I work with are equally excited to walk in the footsteps of their masters.

AKN:  What does the 2009 travel season hold for you?

JK:  A highlight for 2009 will be a concert tour in Japan with the Massachusetts based orchestra, Cambridge Concentus under the direction of Joshua Rifkin (of Ragtime fame!). We will perform J.S.Bach’s St.Matthew Passion. It is very convenient that Bach wrote this work for a double orchestra and choir making it easy to use both American and Japanese Baroque specialists with the theme non-European baroque musicians. 
The next Sprightly Companions tour is in the makings….to be continued.

AKN:  Thank you so much, Jeanine!  

The Sprightly Companions (featuring musicians Jeanine Krause, Rachel Cama-Lekx, and Hsuan-Wen Chen) begins their Force of Eloquence tour on Friday, February 13 in Nashua, Hew Hampshire.  They will appear in cities up and down the East Coast this month.  For more information about The Sprightly Companions and for concert dates and times visit their website .  

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