Ensemble Kontrapunkte

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May 2024

About the Event

Hanns Eisler, though born in Leipzig, was an Austrian citizen throughout his life. While counted as a favorite student of Arnold Schönberg and associated with the Second Viennese School, his musical style evolved in a different direction, influenced not least by his close collaboration with Bertolt Brecht and his communist convictions. On the occasion of the 125th birthday of this original and versatile composer, the Ensemble Kontrapunkte presents three of his works, all originating from film music. The Chamber Symphony composed in 1940 in New York is derived from the nature film "White Flood" and has undoubtedly become his most significant instrumental composition. The 2nd and 3rd orchestral suites come from the films "No Man's Land" and "Kuhle Wampe," respectively. Both were created in the early 1930s and already display the distinctive personal style of the then 33-year-old composer.

Contrasting Eisler's music are works by Rebecca Saunders, "Scar," and Thomas Skweres, "Event Horizon," both composed in 2019.

This concert is part of: Contrapoints

Featured Composer: Rebecca Saunders Organizer

Society of Friends of Music in Vienna

Program and cast



Ensemble counterpoints
Gottfried Rabl | conductor and presenter
Kaoko Amano | soprano

Rebecca SaundersSkin
Guillaume Connesson: Double Quatuor
Florent Schmitt: La Tragédie de Salome; first version 1907


Ensemble counterpoints
Gottfried Rabl | conductor and presenter

Daniel Moser: Counterpoint
Elena Kats-Chernin: The Village Idiot
Steve Reich: Eight Lines
Arnold Schönberg: Chamber Symphony for 15 Solo Instruments No. 1 in E major, Op. 9

Photo gallery

Musikverein Brahms Hall

For many years, this hall was known only as the “Kleine Musikvereinssaal”, until in 1937, during the 125th anniversary year of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien, it was given a name that truly reflects its importance: the Brahms Saal. Johannes Brahms not only performed in person in this hall, he was also behind the very first concert to be performed here, by Clara Schumann on 19 January 1870. The standards set that day have been maintained ever since. The Brahms Saal remains one of the most prized locations for the greatest chamber music ensembles and lieder singers performing in the world today.


With just under of 600 seats, the hall is designed to showcase the intimate aspects of classical music. The hall acoustics are perfectly attuned to deliver this: the Brahms Saal – 32.50 metres long, 10.30 metres wide und 11 metres high – possesses a similar acoustic brilliance to the Große Musikvereinssaal.


When the Musiverein building was opened in 1870, the Kleine Musikvereinssaal was described as a “true little treasure chest”. It was even suggested that this hall might warrant greater praise and wonderment than the Große Musikvereinssaal: “One might even wish to award the prize to this hall for its peacefulness and simple grandeur.” It is abundantly clear that Theophil Hansen’s design for the Brahms Saal created an architectonic masterpiece of the Historicism period. His commitment to the “Greek Renaissance”, evident in the design’s allusions to classical Hellas, make this concert hall an authentic temple of chamber music.


In 1993 the Brahms Saal underwent a comprehensive restoration programme. The restoration project involved consulting the original designs held at the Print Room at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.  This made it possible to reconstruct the original colour scheme created by Hansen as the Musikverein’s architect: green walls, red columns and the liberal use of gold.


When the Brahms Saal reopened to the public in its new form in 1993, a Vienna newspaper wrote: “Without wishing to raise expectations too high, this has been transformed into the most beautiful, magnificent and prestigious chamber music concert hall we are likely to find anywhere in the world.”

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