Proms Chamber Music 2: Twelve Cellos led by Guy Johnston, with Golda Schultz in Bachianas brasileiras No.5

Hungarian Dance No.5 in G minor [arr. Edward Russell]
O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht, BWV118 [arr. Robin Michael]
Schwanengesang, D957 – Liebesbotschaft, Ständchen; Aufenthalt [arr. Richard Birchall]
Variations on an Original Theme (Enigma), Op.36 – IX: Nimrod [arr. David Johnstone]
Wilhelm Kaiser-Lindemann
Die 12 in Bossa-nova (Variações brasileiras)
Bachianas brasileiras No.5
Julius Klengel

Golda Schultz (soprano)

Guy Johnston, Emma Denton, Benjamin Hughes, Su-a Lee, Sarah McMahon, Robin Michael, Brian O’Kane, Justin Pearson, Pedro Silva, Victoria Simonsen, Gabriella Swallow, Adi Tal (cellos)

Reviewed by: Amanda-Jane Doran

Reviewed: 25 July, 2016
Venue: Cadogan Hall, London

Guy JohnstonPhotograph: Ben WrightA dozen cellists filled Cadogan Hall’s stage for the second Proms Chamber Music recital this season, a colourful ensemble brought together by Guy Johnston. These talented musicians created a programme showing the variety and depth of the cello. The enthusiastic collaboration of players was palpable.

A Brahms Hungarian Dance made a lively start, followed by a sombre and reflective J. S. Bach Motet, showcasing the expressive and emotional possibilities of the cello’s baritonal colours. The singing qualities of the instrument were even more evident in three Songs from Schubert’s Schwanengesang, the arrangement of ‘Ständchen’ particularly effective, the piano part transformed into delicate pizzicato, the vocal line passed from player to player to gorgeous effect. Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ was a little wan in comparison.

Then there was a distinctly South American feel, first with dance rhythms and percussive effects during Kaiser-Lindemann’s Die 12 in Bossa-nova, followed by Golda Schultz joining the cellists for a mesmerising performance of Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas brasileiras No.5. Her voice transformed and blended into the string sound, and at the end she exuberantly kissed each cellist. Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango also exploited the cello’s expressive powers and Julius Klengel’s Hymnus brought the concert to a contemplative end. Hymnus was composed for the Leipzig Gewandhaus cello section and used at the funeral of the Orchestra’s conductor Arthur Nikisch. For an encore there was Benjamin Hughes’s transcription of ‘The Swan’ from Saint-Säens’s Carnival of Animals.

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