„…a carefully wrought structure that’s never jemmied out of shape. The Melodia is beautifully phrased; the closing Presto a frenzied will o‘-the-wisp where the quarter-tones are an integrated part of the narrative.” (Gramophone, December 2018)
"It sounds as if the Bartok Sonata were written specifically for Franziska Pietsch, and when she plays, her whole soul seems to be in the music." (WDR 3 tonart, fall 2018)
At first glance, Franziska Pietsch’s career seems to have been a fairy tale of good fortune. Born into a musical family in East Berlin – both her parents were violinists – she was celebrated as a child prodigy. Under the tutelage of Prof. Werner Scholz from Berlin’s Hanns Eisler Hochschule for Music, Pietsch began at a young age to win contests such as the Bach Competition in Leipzig and made her debut at Berlin’s Comic Opera at the age of eleven. There followed a number of years in the “Virtuoso Circus”, as she calls it in hindsight. She performed the violin concertos of Bruch, Lalo, Sibelius, and Paganini with the finest orchestras in East Germany; at the age of 12, she made her first recordings for the East German Radio (including Sarasate’s Gypsy Airs). But this fairy tale ended abruptly in 1984 when her father defected to West Germany during a concert tour. Two years would pass before his family was allowed to join him, and these two years would change the course of Franziska Pietsch’s life. From one day to the next, she was on her own, as all state-sponsored studies and scholarships were suspended.
“And so, at the age of 14, I was forced to ask myself a number of truly fundamental questions. Why do I want to be a musician? What does music really mean? What do I want to do with my life?” Franziska Pietsch found answers in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. For an entire year, with no instruction whatsoever, she devoted herself exclusively to Bach’s solo works, distancing herself quite consciously from the “circus” life of a child prodigy.
“Bach was my salvation, my healing. I suddenly became aware that great music is able to convey messages that live for centuries, in which I can discover my own soul and give voice to it.” After moving to West Germany in 1986, she continued on this path, supported by her teacher and mentor Prof. Ulf Hoelscher. She completed her years of study with the legendary violin teacher Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School in New York.
Franziska Pietsch returned to Germany in 1992 determined to expand her musical horizons beyond the solo literature to include the great symphonic works. For more than ten years, she was the concertmaster of prestigious orchestras such as the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, the Sinfonieorchester Wuppertal, the WDR Sinfonieorchester, and the orchestras of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf and the opera in Frankfurt. At the same time, she continued to perform as a soloist throughout Europe, Asia, and America. In 2010, Pietsch gave up her activities as a concertmaster to devote herself exclusively to chamber music. With the Trio Testore, she recorded the complete piano trios of Johannes Brahms for the Audite label. In 2014, Franziska Pietsch decided to focus on the chamber music formation closest to her heart, the string trio, founding the Trio Lirico together with violist Sophia Reuter and cellist Johannes Krebs; this ensemble recorded the works of Max Reger for CD. Pietsch’s performances and recordings with pianist Detlev Eisinger (sonatas by Grieg, Franck, and Prokofiev) have been praised by international critics and nominated for the German Music Critics’ Prize.
In 2017, Franziska Pietsch felt the time had come to attempt to express her years of musical and personal experience through the great violin concertos. She recorded both Prokofiev concertos with the Deutsches Sinfonieorchester Berlin under the direction of Cristian Măcelaru. She has felt a deep connection to this composer since her childhood: “It is not only the sometimes dark and melancholy sound colors, which possibly speak to my Czech and Polish roots, but perhaps also Prokofiev’s own life, his search for an individual artistic identity under a totalitarian regime.”
The Prokofiev recording (for Audite) was a huge critical success and was nominated for the International Classic Music Award and won the “Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik” awarded quarterly. Three new CD recordings are planned for 2018, documenting the enormous artistic spectrum of this exceptional artist: solo sonatas by Bartok, Ysaye, and Prokofiev; duo sonatas by Shostakovich and Strauss; and string trios by Schnittke, Penderecki, and Weinberg with the Trio Lirico.
Franziska Pietsch will continue 2019 her successful collaboration with the CD label. This spring she presents together with the Spanish pianist Josu De Solaun a recording of sonatas by Richard Strauss and Dmitri Shostakovich. In autumn a recording of the trio Lirico with works by Schnittke, Penderecki and Weinberg will follow.
“Franziska Pietsch plays these concertos with a tone that is not sweet, but consciously raw, giving them an enormous expressivity. Without a doubt, the violinist’s interpretation reflects the unique history of her life.” (RBB Kulturradio)
“…incisively questioning dialogue, nuanced and profound.” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)
“…the violinist Franziska Pietsch possesses the creativity and expressive range to release the explosive power and compositional variety of Prokofiev’s violin sonatas.”(Fono Forum)
„Pietsch has a way of leaching the blood from her bow strokes that perfectly captures the first Sonata`s shadowy atmosphere.“ (Gramophone)
Cologne, January 2019
published 8. März 2019
Pietsch seems an edgier kind of artist, with the frank emotionalism and potential
resort to wide vibrato you might associate with Russian players. Immaculately pitched in every sense, their Strauss is worth sampling even for those normally resistant to this kind of Romantic fare...
Grammophone alles lesen
The German violinist conjures a dazzling spectrum of colours and textures from her instrument in both works, but is especially persuasive in Strauss’s early sonata, which she and De Solaun present as the little acorn from which the great oaks of the tone-poems would grow – their approach is lithe, muscular and almost symphonic in places, but equally striking are the moments when the pair strip things back to a blanched sound-world which would scarcely be out of place in Debussy.
PRESTO CLASSICAL alles lesen
The two of them make every little detail count and stand out without unduly exaggerating anything, and their ability to work together hand-in-glove is simply astonishing. There is never a dull moment in any bar of this work, which in my view is one of Strauss’ finest pieces of his early period (1887-88). The way the duo builds the tension in the last movement is striking and unforgettable...Clearly, this is a powerful and interesting disc, and I hope it gets wide attention.. Art Music Lounge alles lesen
Franziska Pietsch packt nicht nur ihr ganzes technisches Können aus – von bissigen, abgerissenen, kurzen Strichen zu tiefgründigem Lamento – , sie ist vor allem eine hervorragende Gestalterin, dies aus dieser über 30minütigen Sonate ein Drama von shakespearschem Charakter macht mit allen Abgründen, Freuden und Leidenschaften eines Menschenlebens... Pizzicato alles lesen
Violinen: Bartók würde sich wundern . Gegen die Konventionen und voller Gegensätze: Die Violinistinnen Franziska Pietsch und Vilde Frang widmen sich virtuos der Musik von Béla Bartók. Ihre [Franziska Pietschs] aktuelle CD zeugt von stilistischer Treffsicherheit und manueller Brillanz.
Franziska Pietsch truly takes ownership of Bartók’s Solo Sonata. Her interpretation is prompted by the idea of his ‘explosive seriousness’...
Ihr [Franziska Pietschs] Spiel offenbart wieder Musik, die durch Abgründe geht: Sie sucht ständig nach ihren Ausdrucksgrenzen, ohne über das Geschriebene hinauszugehen. Es ist eine besondere Mischung aus Rebellion und Melancholie, die sich abwechselnd zynisch, spöttisch und lyrisch, weitreichend oder sehr intim offenbart.
This is a compellingly individual account, profoundly lyrical where it needs to be, never cloying. Pietsch is at pains to shed new light on the music’s itinerary.
The shimmering violin line feels as if Pietsch has dipped her violin in liquid gold such is the gleaming quality of the sound it produces.
This is simply magnificent a recording, deeply emotional and passionate
Eine Referenzaufnahme für beide Konzerte!
Franziska Pietsch - Violine
Sophia Reuter - Viola
Johannes Krebs - Violoncello
The three musicians of the Trio Lirico are connected by their passion for chamber music. They also pursue their careers as soloists. This soloistic influence on their chamber music is a hallmark of the ensemble, since the chamber musical dialogue is upheld with soloistic passion, three strong personalities “converse” on equal footing while maintaining their individuality, without neglecting the homogeneity of the ensemble. This results in a unique combination of temperament, musical enthusiasm and delightful anticipation. A soulful, nuanced string-sound and the successful combination of faithfulness to style and personal touch in the interpretations add to this. All of the above lead to the successful establishment of the Trio Lirico already shortly after its formation in 2014. The broad repertoire of the ensemble ranges from classic to contemporary works. Additionally, the inclusion of string duos in the concerts adds allure to the concerts.
To commemorate the hundredth death anniversary of Max Reger, the Trio Lirico recorded their debut-album with the label Audite, which was released in September 2017
Franziska Pietsch (Violine), Sophia Reuter (Viola) und Johannes Krebs (Violoncello) interpretieren zunächst das Streichtrio op. 77b und op. 141b mit starker Energie und nicht nachlassendem Elan ...spieltechnischer Eleganz.. Insgesamt gelingt es den Solisten auf dieser CD vorzüglich, die tief empfundenen Stimmungs- und Charakterbilder nuancenreich nachzuzeichnen
They have the tone to match don’t they. Very warm, very rich and soupy, it’s lovely. ..there is really width and verve in this piece particularly in the finale the way we hear it here.
„Waar droomdebuut voor Trio Lirico“
Das Trio Lirico kostet die sanglichen Melodien von Regers Musik genüsslich aus [...]demonstriert ein hohes technisches und künstlerisches Niveau. [...] Wer Max Reger sonst als zu sperrig erlebt und deshalb nur schwer einen Zugang zu seinem Schaffen findet, sollte dem Album eine Chance geben. Es lohnt sich!
WDR 3 Tonart
Lirico fondé en 2014 anime ces pages avec un mélange d'autorité et une ferveur presque débordante d'expressivité…. Bien bel hommage.
[...] der Klang ist ausgesprochen direkt, als säße man geradezu in Griffweite der
Musiker. Jeder Bogenansatz, jede der reichhaltigen Klangfarben ist glasklar zu
hören. [...] Ein reger Reger-Genuss!
Der neue Tag
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