12 February 2014

On the touring circuit

There's an industry for popular classical recitals in churches or small halls throughout European tourist cities, Paris, London, Rome, Vienna, Venice, and it's reached Canberra. We've been to a few there. They usually feature popular classics. There's a journeyman musicians' feel to them, like a jazz player at a cafe standards gig. This was the Kammer Philharmonie Köln (Chamber Philharmonic Cologne) playing at St Christopher's. There was a Vivaldi Season (Summer) and a Bach concerto (BWV1042 in E major) from which even I recognised two movements. I liked this one. There was Mozart (Saltzburg Symphony) and Boccherini's Fandango. The ensemble was 3xviolins, viola, cello, bass, guitar/theorbo. The guitar/theorbo surprised me in this context but they performed a few appropriate works. The Boccherini featured guitars as did another Vivaldi guitar concerto in D major RV93. These guys were there to please and they did please a large audience. St Christophers is not small and it was almost full. This was a popular repertoire and perhaps lightweight, but it was entertaining and sometimes showy. Concertmaster Sergey was on his feet for some great flashy violin parts which he did with admirable skills. My favourite was the Tchaikovsky Andante Cantabile with some blaring demisemiquaver passages from Dmitri on cello. Nice. I was amused, too, but the senior of the team, bassist Alexander who leant back on the altar with experienced non-chalance between strong pizzicato and capable German bowing. And what an international crew! The one woman was on violin and perhaps was joining for this tour, Elisabeth from Melbourne. Otherwise the players were from St Petersburg, Cologne, London, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan. Journeyman indeed. Light and entertaining, but well received and I left with a big smile after three encores. That's doing the business. Glad to see that Canberra's now on the touring circuit.

Kammer Philharmonie Köln (Chamber Philharmonic Cologne) was led by Sergey Didorenko (violin) with Adam Solta (guitar, theorbo), Dmitri Gornovsky (cello), Anton Georg Goelle (violin), Elisabeth Cooney (violin), Sam Harding (viola) and Alexander Tschernoussov (bass)

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