We asked our outgoing Marketing Intern Anna, to give us her review of the first CLoSer of series two
At a glance the basement venue is an odd choice for a classical music concert, but when colourful cushions, vibrant musicians and an excited audience are added, the venue comes alive! Its prime location in the up and coming Shoreditch area is great for attracting creative locals, but is also an appealing spot to visit for those who live further afield. Our CLoSer audiences consist of a wide range of people, young and old, with mixed levels of musical knowledge and varied experiences of classical music, but who all wish to share their love of music in the informal and relaxed environment that CLoSer provides.
The programme for this first concert had a distinctly American feel to it and Michael Collins, City of London Sinfonia’s Principal Conductor, delved straight into the Stravinsky Concerto in D with a high level of excited energy. The City of London Sinfonia strings played with a commitment to this energetic and rhythmic concerto, evidenced by the sight of a loose bow hair flying around in the violins. The second movement was beautifully melodic and reminiscent of a romantic ballet, rather than the sacrificial dance that Stravinsky is known for. This came to an abrupt end in the third movement which presented a pulsating rhythm and a mischievous melody in the violins, creating a tense mood and putting me on the edge of my cushion!
We then welcomed Guest Artists the Katona Twins to the stage to perform Piazzolla’s Hommage à Liège. The Hungarian guitar duo were joined by a dissonant string accompaniment which filled the brick underground with a wonderful resonant sound. The music was intricate and detailed and the pair played with style and apparent ease. At one point the cellos, double bass and guitar duo used their instruments as drums to create a powerful rhythm which built up to an explosive finale which caused excitement to ripple through the room.
The Twins took centre stage for two further pieces from De Falla’s El Amor Brujo suite – The Magic Circle and Ritual Fire Dance . These were full of emotion and with the help of the relaxed atmosphere and the close proximity to the guitar duo, the audience were able to connect to the musicians from their own cushioned corner. In quieter moments the music was played with grace and intimacy, and the louder moments were confident and passionate.
As an encore, the twins played Piazzolla’s Autumn in Buenos Aires, joined by a tango dancing couple who highlighted the sensual and smooth character of De Falla’s music with their movement.
Michael Collins returned for the final piece of the night, to much delight of the audience. The opening of Copland’s Clarinet Concerto was magical, calming and soothing. Michael did a sterling job as both clarinettist and conductor, seamlessly transforming from one role to the other throughout. As always, his playing was flawless and animated and the string players were exceptionally engaging.
The post-concert atmosphere was fantastic with many audience members staying to chat with the musicians, bursting with their thoughts on the evening. The only disappointment is that we’ll have to wait until February for the next one!
Tickets: £15 (includes one free drink)CLS FIVER (16-25 year olds): £5 (pre-register with firstname.lastname@example.org) Box Office: 020 7377 1362/spitalfieldsmusic.org
Images: James Berry