Magnificent strings enthral audience

ROB KNOWLES

STRING THEORY: The Kaba Sting Ensemble performed at Richmond House last Wednesday evening before a packed and enthusiastic audience as part of the Classics at the Castle series of musical concerts. In the front row the student’s mentors are (from left) Lucia Di Blasio Scott (violin), Farida Bacharova (violin), Marian Lewin (cello) and Jeanne-Louise Moolman (viola) Picture: ROB KNOWLES

PORT Alfred classical music lovers were blown away last Wednesday evening when the Kaba String Ensemble played at Richmond House as part of the Classics at the Castle series of musical concerts.

The Kaba String Ensemble is the brainchild of Gauteng music producer, choral director and educator Sue Cock who said she had been working on forming the ensemble for the last 15 years.

This was their first performance; the second was to be held at the Cathedral of St Michael and George in Grahamstown last Friday.

The idea was to bring together nine gifted string players together for a week at the Kaba Game Reserve near Alexandria where, as Cock told the audience, “there were no cell phones, TVs or other distractions”, to explore the intricacies of chamber music from well-known and accomplished musical mentors.

If the performance was anything to go by, the mentors did an outstanding job, as the level of technical expertise and “feeling” of the music they played was truly outstanding.

While chamber music, popularised in the 18th century as music played to small audiences in the “palace chamber”, might not be everyone’s cup of tea there could be no doubt that the mentors and students showed great skill in presenting it to an enthusiastic Port Alfred audience.

Although the musical notation is extremely precise, there is also a sort of organic sense in that each musician feeds from the others in the ensemble.

All nine students performed in one or more of the quintets and quartets which covered music by Mozart (himself a keen player of the viola), Haydn (who was an accomplished violinist) and Beethoven. The quartets consisted of a first and second violin, a viola and cello whereas the quintets included a second viola.

The evening was already well worthwhile having heard only the students play, their enthusiasm and technical ability being as good as any heard on any professional stage. However, when the students’ mentors played Haydn String Quartet in B Flat Major (Sunrise), things shifted into a higher level altogether.

With Lucia Di Blasio Scott and Farida Bacharova on first and second violin respectively, Jeanne-Louise Moolman on viola and the exceptional Marian Lewin on cello, the music was truly sublime.

Thanks to the concert sponsors, all proceeds went to benefit the new library at Port Alfred Primere Skool in Station Hill.

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