They call themselves “Mriya”, which means “the dream” in Ukrainian. Musicians who fled to Germany networked – and founded an exile orchestra, which could be heard in the Philharmonie on Tuesday. The threads for the project come together in various places, in Berlin, in Potsdam, but above all in Bremen, at the “Culture Connects” association.

Before the start of the concert, its founder Roman Ohem introduces some of his fellow aid organizations and reports that a Ukrainian cellist has kept a list of all musicians who have fled his country since the beginning of the war. Hundreds of names are registered there, the best of them, according to Ohem, are now united in “Mriya”. The new orchestra has already given its first concerts in Bremen and the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie.

In classical music circles, of course, everyone knows how high the level of artistic education in Ukraine is. And the “Mriya” musicians – and a few musicians – confirm this on Tuesday in an impressive way. After the national anthem, to which everyone in the hall rises, the ensemble lets Edward Elgar’s string serenade shine: the sound is clear, it has volume and brilliance, the melodies bloom in Edgar’s typical way, in a melancholy, overcast romanticism noble, soft contours.

It’s hard to believe that they’ve only been playing together since March, and that the first official rehearsal for the Berlin cast took place on Monday. Well-rehearsed, that’s what this formation looks like. This is undoubtedly also due to the fact that strings play here, who are otherwise soloists. Three women will step forward throughout the evening, brilliant as prima inter pares, only to reintegrate into their group.

Hanna Tsurkan plays the first violin part in Myroslav Skoryk’s “Carpathian Rhapsody”, first singing wistfully on her instrument and then leading dancer in a stirring medley of Balkan rhythms. The very young Varvara Vasylieva inspires in Johann Sebastian Bach’s A minor Violin Concerto with her soulful interpretation: How intimately she creates the slow movement is both admirable and touching.

The violist and “Mriya” initiator Kateryna Suprun finally makes music together with the Graz violin professor Andrej Bielow, first Kurt Atterberg’s late romantic 3rd suite, then a funny work by Yevhen Stankovych, who was born in 1942, which is called “Almost a Serenade” and into a dazzling one Tango ends.

Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos is still on the packed programme, with Kateryna Titova and Artem Yasynskyy on concert grand pianos provided by Bechstein, as well as pieces by Valentin Silvestrov, Lutoslawski, Viktor Rekalo and Yuriy Shevchenko. The 27-year-old conductor Margaryta Hrynyvetska keeps track of the wild mix of styles, leading her ensemble with expressive yet delicate gestures. To be continued, on the platform – and hopefully soon live again in Berlin.


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