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For his performance at Thann, Mester chose not the posthorn from Mahler 3rd, but another trumpet solo dealing with saying good-bye. 'This year, the equestrian community had faced the very recent loss of one of its finest showjumpers, Christoph Dehning,' Mester says, 'which had happened just the previous week. When I heard that there was going to be a minute's silence for Dehning the following day, I decided on the spur of the moment to play Il Silenzio by Nini Rosso (1926-1994) in his memory.'
As Mester stood alone in the spotlight in the midst of the dressage arena, playing the haunting tune, the audience was nothing short of spellbound. He played without a score, drawing on the energy of the audience and his instrument to bring out the rich harmonics. The visual image of the soloist, his fingers strong and long, his trumpet soaring and plunging with the generous notation of Rossi's music, evoked the sense of a theme fully orchestrated, that rich was Mester's playing. Interpreting Rossi's best-known piece, Mester added his own individual touch to the music without striving for final control, yet focusing on and bringing out the intense colors that Rossi merely hinted at. The transfixed audience seemed absorbed with Mester and his music, and when, at the end, applause burst forward, it was followed by calls for encores, which Mester refused elegantly. 'I was pleased by how well the solo trumpet had been received,' he said afterwards, 'as the audience reacted enthusiastically as they usually only do with string or piano solos, but I had to refuse the calls for encores. We had a very tight schedule at Thann, where every single artist had been very precisely timed.'
Markus Mester playing Rosso's 'Il Silenzio' at Thann. Photo © 2007 Philip Crebbin
He will, he promised, be back next year, and this time it might even be with Mahler, Mester's favorite composer.
Copyright © 3 September 2007
Tess Crebbin, Munich, Germany