Yet another festival?

All over the territory of little Denmark small and big festivals take over from each other constantly almost all year round, the peak of course being during the summer months. Whether you like heavy metal, knitting, apples or classical chamber music you can find the right festival, and what’s not to like about that? According to us that is some of the most beautiful about the Danish entrepreneur and community mentality.


So we thought that we should contribute a bit, not only by playing at different chamber music festivals every year, but also by organising a music festival on our own. If the story, the timing and the concept is special enough there is definitely space for one more festival. 


It took off at some point half way through 2021 where we were talking about the upcoming anniversary of Carl Nielsen’s prominent Wind Quintet opus 43. We did some research and decided that we would like to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first public performance of the piece on the 9th of October 2022, since it is such a special and important piece of music, of course especially regarded so here in Denmark, but internationally it is highly acclaimed too, and we thought that the communication of the stories behind the creation of the piece and the stories of the time around it could get much reverb here in 2022.


We discovered that Paul Hindemith’s and Arnold Schönberg’s wind quintets shared a story with Nielsen’s, and from then we were thinking of making a celebration on a festival scale. But what we actually dreamt of from deep inside was to organise a chamber music festival that could return every year on the same dates, and even though we are wind players we are much more inspired by other musicians than our own race, so this festival of course shouldn’t be a nerdy wind instrument’s gathering, rather an intelligently pitched celebration of high quality chamber music.


We like to tell stories with our playing. That’s all what music making is about, and thus we chose the general title Once Upon… for our festival. This year we are gonna tell stories about infinity, and the next years the stories will be about other things*.


Hope to see you on the 7th-9th of October in Copenhagen. Bring ears and friends and family and we’ll do the rest.


All the best,

V Coloris


*In 2023 it’s gonna be Once Upon… Curiosity (save the dates, 6th-9th of October 2023).


How are the quintets by Nielsen, Hindemith and Schönberg related?


Carl Nielsen’s wind quintet was written in the spring of 1922 in Gothenburg where Nielsen in some periods replaced Wilhelm Stenhammer as conductor of the symphony orchestra and premiered in a private, social gathering at some of Nielsen’s friends in the city. The first public performance of the quintet took place in the Odd Fellow Palace in Copenhagen on October 9, 1922. At this concert the musicians were the Copenhagen Wind Quintet to whom the work was written. The oboe player, Svend Christian Felumb, had in 1921 created the society Ny Musik (“New Music”) which was the organiser of the concert in the Odd Fellow Palace.


Around a month later, in November 1922, Ny Musik hosted a concert with the newly established German string quartet Amar-Quartett whose violist was Paul Hindemith. On the occasion of the visit of the Amar-Quartett Hindemith gave Felumb a pocket score (heartily dedicated) for his brand new wind quintet, Kleine Kammermusik no. 2, also written in the spring of 1922, and it is very likely that Felumb also took the chance to introduce Hindemith to the equally brand new wind quintet by Carl Nielsen. In January 1923 Copenhagen received a visit from Arnold Schönberg who came to assist at concerts where some of his music was programmed and to negotiate with the Edition Wilhelm Hansen.


In the concerts among others the Copenhagen Wind Quintet were playing, and the ensemble had a concert scheduled in Berlin for the end of March where they would play the new quintets by Nielsen and Hindemith. Having had great success in Berlin Felumb wrote a letter to Schönberg and told him about the concert. At that time Schönberg began writing on his wind quintet and in the letter exchange Felumb asked if the honour of premiering Schönberg’s wind quintet could be given to the Copenhagen Wind Quintet. It turned out being somebody else who premiered the piece in September 1924, but given Schönberg’s meeting with the Copenhagen Wind Quintet in January 1923 where it is very possible that there was conversation about the two new quintets by Hindemith and Nielsen, both internationally acclaimed, it seems probable that Schönberg by this has been inspired to entame the work on his own quintet.