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Neue Wiener Concert Schrammeln
© Stephan Mussil

It is 20 (in words: twenty!) years now since the Neue Wiener Concert Schrammeln came into being. Everything there was to say about the ensemble on the occasion of their tenth anniversary is still true today. They still go about their business with undiminished eagerness, joy in playing, enthusiasm. The first violinist Peter Uhler and contraguitarist Peter Havlicek are the constants in this homogenous group, and even though the second violin (Johannes Dickbauer and Nikolai Tunkowitsch) and the chromatic bu on accordion (Walther Soyka and Helmut Stippich) are now manned by di erent players, the skill and brilliance of the ensemble have remained the same.

The name Neue Wiener Concert Schrammeln was by no means chosen at random. The focus on the “concert” element emphasizes the importance of live performances, and the seemingly outdated spelling (in German) implies a commitment to traditional values, to the traditional Viennese dances and marches that still account for a large part of the repertoire, and to the traditional rubato playing, which distinguishes Viennese music from that of the neighboring provinces.

And even after twenty years there is no denying that the ensemble deserve the attribute “neu”, i. e. new. Today more than ever their concept sets them apart from conventional bands still firmly rooted in the repertoire of the Schrammel era. Just as the original Schrammel quartet extended the folk music repertoire of their day by adding newfangled songs, character pieces and similar “novelties”, their successors today strive to establish connections with new Austrian folk music and with world music, through new compositions and contemporary interpretations.

The Neue Wiener Concert Schrammeln are akin to the original Schrammel brothers not only in terms of artistic ambition but also in their comprehensive approach. Collaborations with some of the most renowned stage artists in the city, perfor- mances at the Burgtheater and the Volksoper in Vienna, at the Cologne Opera House, in New York and at the Shanghai Expo, tours to South and North America, Russia, China, Japan and many European countries – in their day, and despite their immense popularity, Hanns and Josef Schrammel could only dream of opportunities like these. Our four (or rather six) musicians are now at an age at which their two famous predecessors already had to take leave of this world, a er less than twenty years in the business. The Neue Wiener Concert Schrammeln still have a long career ahead of them, and we may expect a lot of them for the next decade. (Ernst Weber)

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