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Church marathon – start Geertekerk

Whether as a listener you start in the Geertekerk or in the Lutherse Kerk, the Kerkenmarathon starts anyway with cello music from Bach. The cellists Pablo Férrandez and Zvi Plesser each play one few movements from the famous Cello suites and at the end of the marathon they play the complete Second together in the Nicolaikerk cello suite in a special version for two cellos. Amihai Grosz & Friends combine Bach with a few lesser-known works by trusted composers: a particularly busy string quartet by Arenski, a solo for viola by Britten, the horn quintet and a duo for violin and viola by Mozart and a romantic one declaration of love from Webern.

No cellist can do without Johann Sebastian’s Cello Suites Bach. They are perhaps the most important pieces ever composed for cello. Not only because Bach is one of was the first composers to be such challenging and intriguing wrote works for cello solo, but mainly because the suites of be a universal beauty. Bach wrote the six suites very highly probably between 1717 and 1723, the years in which he was employed was at the court of Prince Leopold van AnholtKöthen. Because the prince, in the words of Bach himself, “a music lover and a music connoisseur” many musical activities took place. Moreover, the court chapel in Calvinistic Köthen had a lot to do less often to accompany church services than in the Lutheran towns. So Bach had plenty of time to create new instrumental music to compose and perform together with the outstanding musicians of the court chapel, with which he rehearsed weekly. Except the Cello suites probably also originated in this period, as were the Sonatas and partitas for solo violin and parts of the Wohltemperirte Clavier. Entirely according to the tradition of Bach’s time, each exists suite from a collection of dances: Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, two Minuets or two Bourrées and a closing Gigue. These stylized dances are by no means popular with Bach dance tunes. He shows his mastery in variation art with an almost inexhaustible abundance of unexpected melodic, harmonic and rhythmic attacks. Cellist Pablo Férrandez playstonight three movements from the First cello suite in G major: the Prelude, the Sarabande and the Gigue (exactly the same three dance forms that Zvi Plesser in the Lutheran Church from the Third cello suite). This first suite has above all a friendly and comforting character, partly thanks to the mild key of G major. The striking itself repeating arpeggios (broken chords) in the enchanting Prelude immediately attract attention. The same broken chords around the single strings G-D-A sound, slightly less striking, also in the contemplative Sarabande and the fast Gigue.

Partly stimulated by his musical parents, the Russian composer Anton Arenski quickly developed a career as a composer, conductor and pianist. He studied with Rimsky-Korsakov, among others and in addition, he was also very impressed by Tchaikovsky, with whom he became friends when he himself became a teacher at the conservatory from Moscow. In 1895 Arenski dedicated his Second String Quartet Tchaikovsky, who had died in 1893. At first, Arenski chose for a very exceptional instrumentation of violin, viola and two cellos, but at the request of his publisher he also made them soon afterwards a version for a ‘regular’ string quartet with two violins instead of two cellos. He also pre-edited the second part string orchestra. Amihai Grosz & Friends are playing the original tonight version of Arenski’s impressive string quartet. The added value of two dark, low cello parts is immediately apparent in the first part, which is extra melancholy thanks to two lyrical cellos sounds. Also in the second part, which is based on a melody by Tchaikovsky, this line-up offers every opportunity to vary with timbres and moods. The seven variations are packed with energetic, optimistic and funny passages, interspersed with gloomy, intimate or mysterious melodies. In all three parts uses Arensky motifs from Russian Orthodox church hymns and folksy melodies that give this quartet a Russian character to give. So is the robust lock that refers to a Russian Orthodox liturgical hymn.