Antje Weithaas studied violin at the Hochschule für Musik, Hanns Eisler, in Berlin with Werner Scholz. She was the winner of the Kreisler Competition in Graz in 1987, the Bach Competition in Leipzig in 1988, and the Hanover International Violin Competition in 1991. Having taught since 1995, Weithaas became a professor of violin at the Hochschule für Musik, Hanns Eisler, in 2004. She previously held a position from 1999 at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. Additionally, Weithaas served as a juror at the Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition Hannover in 2003 and has been the Camerata Bern’s Artistic Director since 2009.
Antje Weithaas performs a repertoire including the great concertos of Mozart, Beethoven and Schumann, along with contemporary works, such as Jörg Widmann’s Violin Concerto, as well as classics by Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Ligeti and Gubaidulina, and also enjoys playing the lesser performed concertos by Hartmann and Schoeck. She has recorded albums presenting the works of Bartók, Brahms, Ravel, Dutilleux and Debussy with the Arcanto Quartet on the Harmonia Mundi label, and has released several highly praised recordings of sonatas by Brahms and Mendelssohn. She recorded Mendelssohn’s Concerto for violin, piano and orchestra as well as his String Quintet no. 2 B flat major op. 87 for string orchestra with the Camerata Bern. Ms Weithaas performs on a 2001 Peter Greiner violin.
Franz Schubert began writing his String Quartet No. 14 Death and the Maiden in 1824 and completed it two years later. The quartet is titled for the second movement’s theme, which Schubert adapted from the piano accompaniment of his song Der Tod und das Mädchen written seven years earlier. In the song, the Maiden begs for Death to pass her by, while Death assures her that he has not come to punish her.
Der Tod und das Mädchen, English Translation
Pass me by! Oh, pass me by!
Go, fierce man of bones!
I am still young! Go, rather,
And do not touch me.
And do not touch me.
Give me your hand, you beautiful
and tender form!
I am a friend, and come not to punish.
Be of good cheer! I am not fierce,
Softly shall you sleep in my arms!
Schubert had suffered a number of hardships in the years before he began the composition, the most difficult being an illness, likely syphilis, that struck at the end of 1822. The composer wrote to a friend on March 31, 1824. “Think of a man whose health can never be restored, and who from sheer despair makes matters worse instead of better. Think, I say, of a man whose brightest hopes have come to nothing, to whom love and friendship are but torture, and whose enthusiasm for the beautiful is fast vanishing; and ask yourself if such a man is not truly unhappy.” The composer only lived another four years. In the opening statement, all four instruments cry out in unison, then while two maintain the line the others tumble seemingly downward. It is a moment that has become one of the most recognizable in all of chamber musi
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator