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October 28, 2018

Franco-German string ensemble shows the way to reconciliation


October 28, 2018

Karachi’s Western classical music buffs were treated to a scintillating evening of classical music at the Marriot Hotel on Friday evening.

The Stradivaria ensemble, a combined Franco-German enterprise, under the direction of violinist Daniel Cuiller, played to a highly appreciative jam-packed auditorium of the hotel who listened with rapt attention.

The evening got off to a start with a quartet by the German composer Ludwig Van Beethoven, quartet in F-Major, Opus 18. They performed the Allegro movement of the quartet, Allegro being a brisk, vivacious movement.

Though Beethoven belonged to the Romantic period (he was actually on the cusp between the Romantic an classical eras), he composed all his music in the classical style and thus was referred by his contemporaries as the old guard.

His compositions have a hauntingly surreal element and transport one back to the pastoral world with a surreal pastoral landscape, lush green countryside, interspersed with brooks and lush meadows, happy bands of farmers. They are evocative of the world as it must have been three hundred years ago -- quiet, peaceful, contented.

This piece had all those qualities and was absolutely melodious and was really a soul-lifting rendition. There was perfect coordination among the strings, two violins, a viola and a cello. However, by far, the star performance of the evening was Mozart’s divertimento KV 136. It was in three movements, Allegro, Andante and Presto.

A divertimento is a light, entertaining piece. An Allegro movement is a fast, vivacious movement, while Andante is a moderately slow tempo.

Presto again is in brisk tempo. It was a performance par excellence with excellent coordination among the strings. It was the kind of soul-lifting rendition that makes the soul waft over celestial meadows.

The Allegro movement, in particular, was simply heavenly.

To Mozart goes the credit of having evolved a totally different, heavenly genre of music. He merged the mellow, lilting Italian music with the loud, flamboyant German one and came up with a totally new genre that has lived on for two-and-a-half centuries and will surely live on given its hauntingly surreal, other worldly quality. It would not be out of place to say that music is Mozart and Mozart is music.

This was followed by three pieces by French composer Jean Phillipe Rameau. All the three pieces were in three movements each. The second movement of the first piece was an Allegro, titled, La Livri, and was a highly vivacious, toe-tapping one. So was the third movement of the last piece, titled, Tambourins.

Prior to the beginning of the performance, German Ambassador Martin Kobler told the media that the concert was being held to mark the 100 years of the end of World War I.

He said that after two devastating wars with the loss of 60 million lives in Europe alone, realisation had dawned on both countries that wars solved no problems and were just a pernicious curse. He said that his generation in both France and Germany adopted a new stance and began deep cooperation in each and every sphere.

He said that when he was in high school, teams from his school had exchange visits with their counterpart schools in France. Today, France and Germany have cooperation in each and every field with joint bodies. The Franco-German ensemble, he said, was a manifestation of that.

French Consul-General in town Talpin Didlier also spoke.

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