The principle of having 12 cellists on stage – the cellists of the Berlin Philharmonics have been playing together as Die 12 Cellisten der Berliner Philharmoniker since 1972.
This years Proms season is featuring a lot of Cello music. This concert was definitely right down that street. Guy Johnston, who won the 2000 BBC Young Musician of the Year, was the helm of this international bunch of cellists, made up from colleagues as well as one of his students. Emma Denton, Benjamin Hughes, Su-a Lee, Sarah McMahon, Robin Micheal, Brian O’Kane, Justin Pearson, Pedro Silva, Victoria Simonsen, Gabriella Swallow and Adi Tal were joining him on stage.
The very intimate setting of Cadogan Hall almost gave the feel of it being a at a home concert even though I sat furthest away from the stage. Lunch time concerts are an amazing part of the Proms programme – showcasing excellent music in a more informal and relaxed setting.
The concert started off with Brahms Hungarian Dance No 5 – a very recognisable melody, followed by a Bach Motet and three songs from Schubert’s Schwanengesang. All three arrangements really brought out the beauty of the cello – especially in the Bach – all the different little melodies cropping up here and there. The communication between the cellists was a pleasure to watch – they were so in sync with each other. Wilhelm Kaiser-Lindemann’s Die 12 in Bossa-nova was an amazing little piece of music – having a playful and dancing character about it.
The ensemble was joined by Golda Schultz, an soprano also currently starring at Glyndebourne’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro, for Heitor Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileras No 5. Her voice was spectacular – such a radiating warmth and depth. The piece is a beautiful but quite challenging to play, let along sing. It was an amazing performance and her singing was a total revelation – over the next few years no doubt that name will grace a lot more programmes!
The atmosphere in the Hall was electric – the audience held the tension for a few moments after every single piece before breaking into applause. It was pretty amazing and just unique!
A fantastic way to start a new week!