The Sächsische Staatsbäder Orchestra
Orchestra in the heart of Europe
Open-mindedness and cultural dialogue have been deeply anchored in the 'Chursachsen' region since the beginning of the 19th century. There has always been active artistic exchange beyond the borders, which joins the three large musical regions in Europe – Bohemia, Bavaria and Saxony. Today, the Chursächsische Philharmonic - as the orchestra of the Sächsischen Staatsbäder Bad Elster and Bad Brambach - views itself and its musicians as rooted within this very tradition, thus acting as musical ambassadors for the entire region within the heart of Europe.
After discovery of the therapeutic springs in Bad Elster in 1817, the court director, Karl Staudinger, commissioned his friend, the musician Johann Christoph Hilf, to found an orchestra. Hilf's son, Christoph Wolfgang was the concert master of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and soloist under Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, as well as a treasured musician to colleagues such as Schumann, Spohr and Marschner, as the time when Elster became home to the Royal Saxonian State Mineral Baths in 1848. Under his direction, the orchestra, composed of 36 musicians, rose in fame as the "Royal Baths Orchestra" spanning outside of Saxony, thus becoming an essential part of Saxonian culture.
Historical Performance Practices
Since 1992, the Chursächsische Philharmonic, under the direction of general music director Florian Merz, has had the artistic goal of performing music of all eras as close to the original sound experience as possible. According to the Chursächsische Philharmonic, this goal inevitably leads to the use of historical instruments from the various styles of Baroque as well as the Classic and Romantic era.
This includes all the prerequisites of historically-accurate orchestral practices – the number of musicians and the corresponding seating arrangement, bowing, phrasing, pace and articulation. This musical task has led to a natural and intensive collaboration with musicologists, universities and instrument makers in the Vogtland.
The Philharmonic is thereby comprised of its own chamber musicians, who, depending on the strength of the lineup, are complemented by exceptional professional musicians from long-standing, central German (chursächsisch) top orchestras. The multifaceted repertoire ranges from chamber music to orchestral concerts and staged musical theatre productions.
Cooperation as an artistic touch
The successful work of the Philharmonic evident through its collaborative work with leading cultural centres such as the Landesbühnen Sachsen, the Semper Opera in Dresden, the Frauenkirche in Dresden and the MDR broadcasting association. The Chursächsische Philharmonic has become the region’s most important cultural service provider and cultural ambassador through its much-noticed concert activities, CD recordings, and radio and TV productions. Due to its high, artistic quality, it has acquired an outstanding reputation in Germany and throughout Europe, and is promoted by the Kulturraum Vogtland as the region’s most significant cultural institution. The home of the “Chursachsen” is the famous King Albert Theatre in Bad Elster.