Meike Mieke, February 1, 2009
A journey of discovery in the concert hall - "Rhythm & Strings" with the Camerata Europaea on November 30, 2008 in the Berlin Concert Hall
On this evening, lovers of the Greek and Cypriot cultures headed for the chamber hall of the concert house. A first class string orchestra and three outstanding soloists on bassoon (Frank Forst), piano (Uwe Matschke) and percussion (Dessi Slava Kepenerova) gave an excellent presentation of an aspect of the culture not generally familiar in this country. The Camerata Europaea played orchestral works by contemporary composers from Cyprus, Greece and Germany. Rhythm & Strings is the first of the "Trio Europa" series of regular concerts with which the ensemble wishes to draw attention to contemporary classical music from each of three European countries.
"Europe" in the ensemble's name symbolises the artistic intention of the Camerata Europaea. The aim is to find out more about Europe's oft-cited cultural diversity, which is particularly revealed in the works of today's leading European composers. An aim ultimately achieved through the choice of works that are recognisable by their specific musical characteristics: the distinctive rhythm of an old folk dance, a melody learned during childhood, a myth or legend that can be read into the music. A simple, but convincing concept with which to convey an understanding of European music.
The artistic director of the Camerata Europaea Maria Makraki, created and directed an innovative, rhythmically accentuated programme of "Rhythm and Strings" filled with discoveries: the lively, dotted, duple meter-based presentation of a Cypriotic folk dance Drepani for marimba and strings by the composer Savvas Savva; wonderful Tango arrangements by the Greek composer Periklis Koukos; an impressive performance of the Concertinos for bassoon and strings op. 27b by Bertold Hummel (1925-2002); and an arrangement of metallic, spherical sounds in the debut performance of Georgios Kyriakakis' Clotho for piano with string orchestra and percussion.
The tonal skills of the ensemble were equally as compelling: subtly playful in the Drepani, almost eerily exact the dots in the tangos, with just the right amount of melodiousness, brilliantly prepared for the bassoonist in the demanding Concertino, open for the unexpected in the interpretation of Clotho, the myth of Clotho (the 'spinner') the Greek goddess of destiny who spun the threads of life. Maria Makraki led the ensemble lightly and naturally through rhythmically challenging passages. She gripped the ensemble with her strong charisma, infusing it with her attentiveness and energy. Communication between the conductor and the musicians appeared amiable, as if they were sharing the common pleasures derived from this novel and varied journey of discovery through Europe. We are looking forward to continuing this series!
Rhythm & Strings was succeeded by the generous support of the culture department of the Cypriot Embassy in Berlin, the Goethe Institute in Thessalonica, by EXANTAS Association and Euro-Information, Agency for Communications.