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Spellbinding symphonies

ALLAN MOSES RODRICKS
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The Karlsruher Konzert-Duo rendered an evening of magical nuances on the cello and piano

Vibrant soundscapeFrom the duophoto K. Murali Kumar
Vibrant soundscapeFrom the duophoto K. Murali Kumar

Ever so often, a musician weaves his magic over the city and transports people into another world with his astonishing skills. The Karlsruher Konzert-Duo recreated the same magic in their recent performance at the Alliance Française, organised in association with the German Consulate, the International Music & Arts Society and Indo-German Cultural Society.

Since their launch in 1997, cellist Reinhard Armleder and pianist Dagmar Hartmann have toured the world rendering breath-taking performances and fascinating audiences with the depth of their interpretations, brilliant techniques and imaginative choice of programmes.

Kicking off the evening with German composer Johannes Brahms’ Sonata in F Major Op. 99 first movement , the duo launched into a flourishing rendition of the romantic composition. With the cello leaping around the staff over the piano’s tremolo notes, the musicians instantly captivated the audience with their ardent instrumentation even as the Sonata flowed with youthful boldness.

German maestro Robert Schumann’s Fantasy Pieces Op. 73 weaved through next with meandering melodies. The three-piece work began dreamily but moved forward to the second structure with resolute firmness which the duo played with an energetic modulation. The final piece drove into a frenzy of passion and fiery energy pushing the musicians to their limits which they concluded with exuberant triumph.

The duo moved to more vibrant nuances with German composer Felix Mendelssohn’s Song Without Words in D Major Op. 109 . The Andante movement played with fluent emphasis on expression gave way to Polish legend Frédéric Chopin’s Introduction and Polonaise Brilliante in C Major Op. 3 . Dagmar’s fingers danced along to the Polonaise energy while Reinhard’s bow soared over the piano passages with virtuosic bravado. Both musicians transported the audience to a festive world with their lyrical grace and exciting elegance with the romantic and highly entertaining piece.

The duo followed the piece with Frenchmen Gabriel Fauré’s Élégie in C minor Op. 24 and Camille Saint-Saëns’ Allegro Appassionato Op. 43 . Both themes drew the audience further into the magical realm the duo was creating with their skilful instrumentation and expressive augmentation of musical enchantment.

What followed next was probably the highlight of the concert with German woman composer Luise Adolpha Le Beau’s Romance from Five Pieces for Cello and Piano Op. 24 . The thematic work filled the auditorium with a feeling of love and flowed with mellifluous affection as Reinhard and Dagmar poured their heart out in one of the most endearing moments in the evening of music.

French maestro Maurice Ravel’s Pièce en forme de Habanera came through next with alluring dance ecstasy. The movement had the duo exude fantasy-filled emotion as they bowed and keyed through the difficult composition and ended in virtuosic glory to a rousing applause. Spanish pianist Enrique Granados’ Orientale, Danza Española No. 3 ambled through next in mellow creativity.

The finale was the audience’s second favourite with Spanish veteran composer Manuel de Falla’s La Vida Breve: Spanish Dance No. 1 . The piece had Reinhard’s fingers and bow sailing over the cello accompanied by Dagmar’s nimble fingers dextrously floating over the keys. The ambient orchestration of the movement with rhythmic timbres paved way to a dynamic spell the duo cast over the music lovers in the audience. The soaring dual between the instruments led to a gentle finish as the crowd rose to their feet and delivered a standing ovation amid cheers for an encore. The duo recreated magic again by playing Luise’s Romance once more that had the audience spellbound to the last note.

ALLAN MOSES RODRICKS

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