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23rd International ESTA Congress at Schloss Elmau/Germany, 15 – 21 April 1996

“Homo ludeus” — was a motto that opened up plenty of room to move or play, indeed. Gerhard Mantel, the German ESTA President, said in his introduction: “Music and” its interpretation defies a description in terms of right or wrong, just as there is no such thing as a right or wrong person. If our work is to achieve something, it must keep moving, and we, as musicians, must abide by Richard Wagner’s words: Go ahead and create something new! This requires playful imagination and the courage to cross borders.”

Located on a high plateau, Elmau is an extraordinary castle, surrounded by a lovely panorama. During the breaks you could enjoy the refreshing air, chat with colleagues or go for a walk in the forest. An indoor swimming pool beckoned you to take an exercise in the pleasantly warm water, and the daily “morning dance” (as befitted the castle’s ambience) got you into the right mood for the day. Again the congress programme offered an attractive mixture of workshops, lectures and concerts. Practical participation was encouraged by the following events:

Hans Erik Deckert (DK) “The Process of Practising for Cellists” and “Studies for String Quartets” by Mogens Heimann with Congress participants
Jürgen Hübscher (D) “Improvisation Exercises” and “Folklore and Old Music in Ensemble Playing”
G. O. v.d. Klashorst (D) “The Disposition of Musicians, an Introduction to Dispokinesis”
Axel Prasuhn (D) “Jazz Choir for String-Players”
Florian Reichert (D) “String Instruments and Pantomime Introduction to His Imagination Play”
C. May-Ropers
Roland Ropers (D)
Introduction to Nowobalance” – ways of testing your body balance yourself
Eva Roscher (A) “Improvisation in the Past and Today”

Lectures with many music examples were presented by:

Jane Francis (GB) “One Year of Good Practising”
Conrad v.d. Goltz (D) “Promoting Gifted Students” – with demonstrations by gifted children
Walter Grimmer (CH) “Isang Yun. New Etudes for Cello”
Undine Jagelaite (Lithuania) “Music for Violin by Lithuanian Composers”
Gerhard Mantel (D) “Play, Expression and Personality”
Franz Mayrhofer (D) “The Playful Violin”
Helmut Müller (D) “The Physics of the Violin” – slide presentation with discussion and demonstrations (in Mittenwald)
Niina Murdvee (Estonia) “Traditional Songs and Games as a part of Culture in Teaching Beginners
Rolf Oerter (D) “Playing Music as a Game – Opportunities and Problems”
Siegfried Palm (D) “The Playful Element in the Interpretation of Contemporary Music”
Enzo Porta (I) “Basic Motions by the Left Hand in Violin Playing”
Wolfgang Roscher (A) “Homo ludens and Polyaisthesis”
Stefan Schmolck
Wolf Mayer
Dirk Schildgen (D)
“What about Jazz? Improvisational Playing with Rhythm, Harmony and Melody”

The opening concert was played with verve by the Abegg Trio with Ulrich Beetz, violin, Birgit Erichson, violoncello, and Gerrit Zitterbart, piano, with works by Wolfgang Rihm, Maurice Ravel and Antonin Dvorak. The Vogler Quartet with the clarinettist Ib Hausmann performed Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet K581 and the Reger Quintet in A major op. 146.

The two recipients of the scholarship of the “Dr. Ernst Koch Foundation” were scheduled for a matinee. Monika Jarecka from Polandaus, Poland, whom we still remembered well from Budapest where she had played during a lecture, rendered Bach’s Solo Sonata in G minor and “Aria and Chorale” by Stanislaw Moryto. Since Yair Kless had to cancel his violin evening, and his workshop due to illness, Jamie Walton and the pianist Daniel Grimwood stepped in with a concert evening playing works by L.v. Beethoven (Sonata op. 5/1), R. Schumann (Fantasias op. 73), William T. Walton (Passacaglia for Cello Solo), F. Chopin (Barcarole op. 60), and Claude Debussy (Sonata for Violoncello and Piano, D minor). The two scholarship students Jarecka and Jamie Walton gave proof of their outstanding abilities before an enthusiastic audience.

One afternoon was spent at the violin-building school in Mittenwald with a guided tour, followed by a lecture and a concert by the Cello Quartet Ludmila Volkova from Samara in Russia.

Hubert Buchberger and his String Quartet presented, in a workshop entitled “Ludwig van Beethoven’s Playing with the Material” Iwo versions of the Sting Quartet op. 18/1 and played the first version of 1799. In an evening concert the Quartet played the 3rd String Quartet op. 30 (1927) by Arnold Schönberg, the 3rd String Quarter (1927) by Béla Bartók, and the 5th String Quartet op. 32 (1923) by Paul Hindemith.

The Vilnius – Quartet performed works by M K. Curlionis, Vyt. Barkauskas, Dmitri Shostakovich and Erwin Schulhoff.

On the last morning of the Congress we were encouraged by Hannelore Unfried (A) to join in the dancing and thus familiarised with sarabande, gavotte and gigue. During our farewell evening we were treated to “Ein ARTig Weltthcatcr” with music by II. I. F. Biber played by members of the group “Il gruppo stravagante” conducted by Jürgen Kroemer (A), with dance and pantomime with the “Hof-Dantzern” directed and choreographed by Hannelore Unfried. The “Ciacona with the Night Watchman’s Call” concluded the spectacle, which had been followed by all participants with utmost interest.

We left Elmau with the sun still shining brightly and the certainty: ESTA lives – the play(ing) goes on.

General Meeting of the Delegates on 20 April, 1996 at Schloss Elmau.

First the names of the newly elected national Presidents were announced: Michael Frischenschlaer for Austrian and Raino Sariola for Finland. Edmond Sinani was continuing his efforts to establish ESTA in Albania, and Werner Schmitt reported from Ukraine that the Statutes had been approved by the government and that the Branch would be supported by the Rotary Club. Siegfried Palm added that in the autumn of the previous year he had taught a group of students from Ukraine and that he had been very much impressed by their performance, although they had to play from music that was barely readable. The Solidarity Fund had made it possible for them to buy new music.

ESTA was now an official member of the International Music Council – IMC – and Siegfried Palm was appointed by the Central Committee to represent ESTA.

It was decided to leave the subscriptions to ESTA unchanged. However, in order to make it easier for Branches from Central and Eastern European countries to participate in ESTA, the Central Committee submitted the following motion: “The Western European countries shall pay an extra amount of 10% of their subscription into a special ESTA fund. The Central Committee shall be entitled to use this fund and, upon application, bear the subscription costs of individual Eastern member countries up to a maximum of 50%.” After a long discussion this motion was adopted for the period of one year.

The budget and the Auditors’ report were adopted unanimously.

There followed a discussion on the idea to record events on cassettes to tap additional sources of income. Kjell Hamrén was asked to set up a “profit centre”, which would work independently of the Treasury, but would be owned by ESTA.

The Statutes, Art. 19.2, were amended.

Old Version: “The members of the Central Committee shall be elected for a period of 3 years and may be re-elected twice.”
New Version: “The members of the Central Committee shall be elected for a period of 3 years and may, normally, be re-elected twice.”

This amendment made it possible for our irreplaceable Treasurer, Werner Schmitt, to be re- elected, which was thought to be extremely important to ensure the continuity of our finances.

This motion was adopted by unanimous vote, as were all the others.

Further elections were necessary because of the retirement of Vice-President Marianne Granvig from her office. In appreciation of her work she was awarded the Honorary Membership.

First Niina Murdvee from Estonia, a small and new member country where, nevertheless, all contacts work very well, was elected into the Central Committee.
Elspeth Illif was elected Vice-President
Siegfried Palm was re-elected for another term.

The members of the Board of Trustees of the “Dr. Ernst Koch Foundation” had to be newly elected as well, and it was now composed as follows:

President: Marianne Kroemer
Vice-President: Kjell Hamrén
Secretary: Werner Schmitt
Additional members: Rodney Slatford, Siegfried Palm

The very best could be reported about the two scholarship recipients Monika Jarecka (PL) and Jamie Walton (GB).

The next International Congresses had been fixed: 1999 in Great Britain and 2000 in Helsinki. For 1997 Francesco Comesana hoped to be able to organise the Congress in Madrid’s Escorial. For 1998 Denmark or Benelux were envisaged.

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