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The Ensemble Diabelli evolved from the Duo Karstens/Ruf with the ambition to present the musical spectrum of classical and romantic chamber music with guitar. With its name the ensemble refers to Anton Diabelli, one of the most important figures of the musical life in Vienna at the beginning of the 19th century.
As the first publisher of Schubert´s and Beethoven´s music, as a guitar teacher and as a composer Diabelli had great influence on the capital´s cultural life. He stands examplarily for the important role of chamber music during his lifetime.

The Ensemble Diabelli is member of the Kölner Gesellschaft für Alte Musik (KGAM e.V.).




Franz Schubert: Quartett D96 (Concert):



New program for 2016/17:

Hector Berlioz and the wild years of the guitar

Charlotte Schäfer, Soprano

Reinhard M. Ruf, Tranverse Flute

Thomas Karstens, Guitar





Paris 1843: the most outstanding French composer of the first half of the 19th century, published his epochal book on orchestration »Grande Traité d'instrumentation et d'orchestration«. A longer article herein he devotes to the guitar - an instrument that until then hardly occurred in the orchestra, but is itself an orchestra »en miniature«. This was preceded by some major works of music, such as his famous »Symphonie fantastique«.

According to the later descriptions of the composer the conception of this masterpiece started on the guitar. From early youth on, following the example of his sister, Berlioz played the flute and the guitar, the fashionable instrument of the early 19th century. London, Vienna and particularly Paris were captured by a furore the later so called »Guitaromanie«, when great virtuosi like Paganini, Carulli, Carcassi, Sor and Aguado earned public attention as soloists and composers. Apart from their own compositions virtuoso variations on famous opera melodies and arrangements for guitar with vocals or melodic instruments played an important role in the musical salons of those years.

These, also in political and social terms, truly wild years of the early 19th century found in Parisian musical life lively and often passionate response. Literary contemporary witnesses as Heinrich Heine, Victor Hugo and Hector Berlioz himself as a writer described this impressively.