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November 11, 2018

Ninety minutes of soul-lifting classical music

Karachi

November 11, 2018

Western classical music enthusiasts in town were treated to gripping, soul-lifting classical music on Friday evening at the local Marriott Hotel.

The Aust trio from Germany, comprising siblings Bettina Aust (clarinet), Robert Aust (piano) and the mezzo-soprano Lydia Krueger, enthralled the audiences with their oozing talent. They played pieces from the French composer Charles Gounod, and others. In all, they played and sang seven composers.

One of the most enlivening and vivacious tunes they presented was the Aria of Rosina, Una Voce Poco Fa, from Italian composer Rossini’s “Ill Barbiere di Siviglia” (The Barber of Seville).

Lydia Krueger’s hauntingly melodious mezzo-soprano, with the masterly piano accompaniment by Robert Aust, was simply superb. It really left nothing to be desired. It is a lively opera and Krueger and Aust left no stone unturned in making it so. Aust’s deft handling of the keyboard added special glint to the performance. He really seemed to be a wizard at the keyboard. The fluency and perfection with which his fingers moved over the keyboard was simply remarkable. At certain junctures he seemed to overshadow both the vocalist (Krueger) and the clarinetist Bettina Aust.

Krueger’s haunting mezzo-soprano was soul-lifting indeed. Her cadences were so well-controlled as was her capability to transit from the lowest note to the highest one with remarkable ease.

This was followed by Louis Spohr’s Selection from six German songs, presented by all three, Lydia Krueger, Bettina Aust (clarinet) and Robert Aust (piano) All three put up a highly well coordinated , melodious performance. This was a performance the kind that makes one’s soul waft over celestial plains, taking the soul away from the jarring rigours of the world to a beautiful soothing plane. It was simply melodious.

However, the most remarkable was the piano solo by Robert Aust, a composition by Hungarian composer of the Romantic era Franz Lizst (1811-1886). It was “Reminiscence de Norma”. Aust really proved that he was master of the keyboard.

This was followed by a composition by Johannes Brahms for voice, clarinet and piano.

It was about the four seasons. The first and second movements reflected the lively seasons of spring and summer through their vivacious tempo. The third movement was reflective of autumn with its slow, melancholy time, and the last one of winter was again slow and melancholy signifying the isolation that winter forces on a person, the biting cold and the weather condition which make one feel so alone.

Perhaps a composition by Austrian composer Franz Schubert, Shepherd on the Rock, must have brought lots of memories to many. It was dripping nostalgia. In the Anglo-Saxon world, it is known as “Shepherd on the Hill”. Whatever the name, all the three artistes put up a splendid performance and did full justice to Franz Schubert.

We have none to thank for this magnificent programme other than the German Consulate-General in town, which sponsored it. How one hopes that such magnificent programmes would not be so few and far between!

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