MESSIAEN and Eternity
“The work,” as Messiaen writes, “is directly inspired by the Revelation of St. John. Its musical language is essentially transcendental, spiritual, catholic. Certain modes, realizing a kind of tonal ubiquity in terms of harmony and melody, draw the listener into a sense of the eternity of space or time. Special rhythms, lying outside any sort of measure, contribute significantly toward the banishment of the concept of time.
(However, all this is mere striving and childish stammering if one compares it to the overwhelming greatness of the subject!)
“This quartet contains eight movements. Why? Seven is the perfect number, the creation of six days made holy by the divine Sabbath: the seventh in its repose prolongs itself into eternity and becomes the eighth, of unfailing light, of immutable piece.
“The four performers played on broken-down instruments: Etienne Pasquier’s cello had only three strings, the keys of my upright piano went down but did not always come up again. Our costumes were unbelievable: they rigged me out in a green jacket completely in shreds, and I wore wooden clogs.………….“ (Excerpt from the booklet notes by Ib Hausmann)
The Amatis Trio was founded in Amsterdam in 2014 by German violinist Lea Hausmann, British cellist
Samuel Shepherd, and Dutch/Chinese pianist Mengjie Han. The three musicians met in Amsterdam,
and have performed together in 34 countries around the world.
Only weeks after its inception, the trio won the Audience Prize at the Grachtenfestival-Concours
at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and First Prize at the International Parkhouse Award
at Wigmore Hall in London, both venues that now invite them as regular artists, and to which they
returned for their 2018/19 season as ECHO (European Concert Hall Organization) Rising Stars.
From 2016 to 2018, the Amatis Trio were selected by BBC Radio 3 to join the BBC New Generation
Artists scheme; in 2018 they were invited to participate in the Verbier Festival Academy in Switzerland.
It has emerged as one of the leading piano trios of the new generation.
Their commitment to new music, to education projects, and to the bringing of western music to less
exposed audiences has most recently led the trio to undertake performance tours in Indonesia and
India, and to teach masterclasses in Jakarta, Bandung, Mumbai, and Pune.
Summer 2019 saw the Amatis Trio make their BBC Proms debut and perform as soloists in the
Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Jamie Phillips
at the 2019 Kings Lynn Festival. They made their 2019 Edinburgh International Festival debut in a
programme entitled Amatis Trio and Friends, where they invited two other members of the BBC NGA
scheme to perform with them. Both this concert and the BBC Proms appearance were broadcast live
on BBC Radio 3.
2019/20 sees the trio perform in Europe’s major concert halls including Elbphilharmonie Hamburg,
Wigmore Hall, Konzerthaus Dortmund, Philharmonie Cologne, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie,
Philharmonie de Paris and a debut tours of Sweden of Turkey. In addition they have been appointed
Artist in Residence at both Cambridge University, UK and the University of Toronto, Canada.
The Amatis Trio’s commitment to contemporary music led to the foundation in 2015 of the Dutch
Piano Trio Composition Prize, aimed at encouraging young composers to expand the piano trio
The trio has since commissioned and premiered 15 contemporary pieces, most recently
Moorlands, a piano trio work by Swedish composer Andrea Tarrodi.
Since 2015 the trio has worked intensely with Wolfgang Redik (Vienna Piano Trio) and Rainer Schmidt
(Hagen Quartet). Other important musical influences include Lukas Hagen, Hatto Beyerle, the Trio
Jean Paul, Fabio Bidini, Ilya Grubert, Anner Bylsma, Ivry Gitlis, Christian Schuster, Ib Hausmann, Imre
Rohmann, Menahem Pressler, and Sir András Schiff.
Other prizewinning accolades include the most outstanding chamber music prize of the Netherlands,
the Kersjesprijs 2018; the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, the 2015
International Parkhouse Competition at Wigmore Hall, the International Joseph Joachim Competition
in Weimar, Germany, as well as their nomination for the Dutch Classical Talent Award in 2015/2016.
IB HAUSMANN Clarinet
Clarinetist Ib Hausmann can not be pinned down into any category; he loves to build bridges between
the worlds of classical music and contemporary music. He also loves to improvise, he composes at
times, or adopts a theatrical role as a “clarinet-speaking” Pierrot on stage.
Growing up in his parents’ milieu of art song and opera singing, he started playing the clarinet when
he was 10 and soon developed a passion for all types of music from Rameau to Keith Jarrett, as well
as for painting and contemporary dance. As a soloist and chamber musician he has been touring the
world for many years, and loves to make music in venues both modest and large: from small village
churches to the Scala in Milan; for children in Japan, or in the slums of Columbia.
He has found inspiration in a number of teachers and artists: pianists such as Menahem Pressler and
Leon Fleisher, composer György Kurtág, along with his chamber music partners: Dénes Várjon, Stefan
Litwin, Frank Gutschmidt, Benjamin Schmid, Lukas and Clemens Hagen, jazz pianist Michael Wollny,
the Amatis Piano Trio, and string ensembles including the Casals Quartet and the Hagen Quartet.
Hausmann was never interested in perpetuating the classical mainstream. Instead, he loves to search
for new creative challenges. If there is one thing he doesn’t like, it’s the kind of cosmetic sleekness and
superficial perfection that only serves to gloss over inner emptiness.
His concert programmes and CD
recordings are thus brimming with contrasts: the world premiere recording of Morton Feldman’s Clarinet
and String Quartet with the Pellegrini Quartet, as well as Quintett’s by Constantin Regamey, a notable
pendant to Messiaen’s Quatuor. Hausmann has received German Record Critics Awards for recordings
featuring the clarinet sonatas of Max Reger and other works by Berthold Goldschmidt.
His recording of the
Prokofiev Quintet with Tabea Zimmermann and Daniel Hope was released on the EMI label. For Deutsche
Grammophon he recorded Gerhard Frommel’s Double Concerto for Clarinet and Piano, as well as the CD
entitled Terezin with Anne Sofie von Otter and Christian Gerhaher, nominated for the 2008 Grammy Award.