Jovial Mozart and virtuose cello

A festive classical introduction to the season in Espergærde Music Society

Bodil Strandgaard Schau, civil journalist (Helsingør Dagblad, 20 September, 2016)

Espergærde: It can hardly be more festive – Espergærde Music Society opened its 37th season last Sunday at Mørdrup Kirke with a purely classical program.

Copenhagen Soloists, directed by the orchestra’s conductor and founder Jonathan Ofir, played some of the most well-known and beloved pieces of Mozart and Haydn.

Mozart’s Divertimento in D major, also known as “Salzburg symphony nr. 1”, was composed by him already at the age of 16, before he was hired for the court of Salzburg. In the first movement one was as if floating with the music through the air and towards the ceiling, whilst the third movement, allegro, is a teasingly jovial, as only Mozart can be. Mozart’s symphony nr. 29 was more dancing in its nature.

The cello star Brantelid

The roaring applause which welcomed Andreas Brantelid, indicated that many had been particularly looking forward to hear Denmark’s leading cellist play Josef Haydn’s two cello concertos.

Andreas Brantelid has been playing the cello since he was four years old and had a debut at age 14 with Elgar’s cello concerto. This evening he played on a Stradivarious from 1707!

There is a lot of temperament in Haydn’s cello concertos, but also an intimacy. In a very quiet cello solo, one could almost hear the famous pin drop.

Perhaps not by Haydn

It is told that the cellist Nikolaus Kraft, around 1837, claimed that the cello concerto nr. 2 was actually composed by his father, the virtuoso cellist Anton Kraft. As Haydn’s original manuscript was lost, one could only guess the authenticity. Perhaps the work includes themes by Haydn, which were handed to Kraft for the forming of solo passages.

Haydn’s cello concerto nr. 1 was first discovered in 1961, but here there is no doubt that it is a Haydn work. When one listens to it, one can get the thought, that there is something “modern” about the cello solos, which seem to point further on in time beyond the classical era.

Joseph Haydn was born 24 years before Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and lived 18 years longer than him. Haydn is regarded as “the father of quartets and symphonies”, but he regarded Mozart as an extraordinary genius. In his merely 36-year short, but productive life, he managed to create music of an unmistakable sound, which remains as famous and beloved today.

As Jonathan Ofir notes in the program, questions of “who inspired who” and “who came before whom”, can never be answered fully, when we regard art. The inspiration flows throughout.

Something to look forward to

Jonathan Ofir conducted with great engagement, and the orchestra elucidated with great expression the music’s various nuances. There were long final ovations in the filled church.

The program for the hereby opened season at Espergærde Music Society looks promising.

One can first look forward to an orated concert with Kammerkoret Musica, which plays music to texts of Shakespeare, Sunday the 23rd of October.