Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Sunday, August 21, 2011

New Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra of Cologne at Christchurch, Waterford

The Chamber Philharmonia of Cologne presented an attractive and diverse programme of baroque and classical repertoire at Christchurch Cathedral Waterford Saturday 20th August.  Comprising seven strings and augmented with oboe for some repertoire, the ensemble played with verve and finesse and looked as though they were enjoying themselves on the platform with good interaction between the players.  There was a freshness to the performance that gave no hint that they were in any way weary of the repertoire that they have performed countless times in many different venues all over the globe it seems.  This group really gets around, an internet search indicated that a group under this name also performed in Christchurch, New Zealand.   The repertoire is familiar but not hackneyed. There was a Vivaldi concerto, Tempesto di Mare, a concerto grosso by Handel  , a divertimento by Mozart. A Bach sonata  featured an  excellent oboeist which added a refreshing stringency to the string timbre although delivered minus  hallmark keyboard part. The soloist credentials of the cellist were very evident in the Tchaickowsky serenade which was perfect programming for a summer evening.  In a programme of masterpieces, it was a charming string serenade,( the second work of the evening bearing the title Tempesta di Mare) by  a youthful Rossini  for string 2 violins, cello and bass that  drew  the strongest audience reaction of the evening . For their encore, the ensemble made a foray into 20th century repertoire with the Gardel's tango Por Una Cabeza familiar from the dance secene in the film  Scent of a Woman. The rendition featuring the viola  had more of a air of a genteel salon ensemble   than  a bordello slum band about it. This is the seventh visit by musicians under the aegis of New Philharmonic Orchestra of Cologne and one is impressed not only by their excellent musicianship and charm but also their ability to grow their audience. Waterford afficionados present included theatre director and arts critic, Pat McEvoy and Colm Long anchor man of Waterford Sea Shanty Group, Hooks and Crooks  just returned from successful appearances at Festival du Chant Marine in Brittany. The confluence of elegance, both musical and architectural, in this beautiful 18th century neo-classical cathedral with the resonance created by a large appreciative audience made this a most enjoyable occasion.

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