50th Anniversary Concert of 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic.
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The idea of creating an orchestra consisting entirely of all cellists dates back to the time of Pablo Casals. In 1915, Klengel's "Hymn" – the first piece in the Romantic tradition written for 12 cellos was performed. In the 1970s, there were other compositions written exclusively for cellists. It became the impetus for creating an ensemble specialized in this type of compositions and arrangements, ready to be presented to a wide audience, initially in Germany, and then – thanks to the exceptional virtuosity and charm of such a composition – all over the world.
Each orchestra has a cellist section, but nowhere in the world does such a group of instruments form a separate ensemble. In addition, it is genuinely world-successful. The ensemble can only perform when the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is not. It has become a recognizable brand in the world of classical music over the years. The cellists who compose it have been playing together for over 30 years. Although the composition of the ensemble has changed over the years, they remain unrivalled. The unique sound of "The 12 Berliners" has been tried by many, but no band has ever managed to match them.
So far, over 50 compositions by i.a. Wolfgang Rihm, Jean Françaix, Iannis Xenakis, Sofia Gubaidulina have been dedicated to the 12 cellists. Thanks to this they have had no problems with arranging the concert program for a long time.
In addition, their repertoire includes popular music arrangements, which now take up more space not only at their concerts but also on newer albums. While the 12 cellists initially played such arrangements primarily for an encore, they also tried their hand at specific genres, such as tango and film music, in later years. A helpful partner was the composer Wilhelm Kaiser-Lindemann, who arranged for them countless pieces of various genres. They also collaborated with jazz musicians such as Till Brönner and Jocelyn B. Smith.