Every now and then life rewards us with unexpected jewels
Tonight was one of those rare and utterly delightful times. By a stroke of good fortune the opportunity to attend this concert fell in my lap and while I have been a fan of Ms Schaupp for some time this was the first opportunity I have had to see and hear her play live. Stunning. Her talent as a classical guitarist is extraordinary and her conversations with the packed house audience reveal an unpretentious and generous spirit. From what I’ve read about her, those insights were not unanticipated. What was a very unexpected and wonderful surprise was the Orava Quartet.
Firstly, I’ve been missing out and have been educated
Before I go on I should reveal two things: First, the Music By the Sea series was unknown to me before this evening and based on the enthusiastic explanation of the local chap I was lucky enough to sit beside, I have been missing out. Clearly I have been missing out on a music program of the highest calibre that far exceeds my preconceived notions of what goes on in Sandgate on a Saturday evening. So for those in the know, a feast of music as rich as I enjoyed this evening is perhaps not surprising – consider me educated.
Secondly, the Orava Quartet and Karin Schaupp combination was breath taking
The second thing is that I am not a studied musician or someone who is passionate about classical music although I do enjoy it. So when I say the Orava Quartet was a wonderful surprise it is fair to say I was completely stunned by their talent and the amazing music they shared with us. Then place Karin Schaupp in the mix and the result is breath taking.
All my attention was on the wonderful music and brilliance with which it was being played
So, back to the program. I’m not qualified to discuss the specifics of the pieces because they are not familiar to me however I know enough to know that the program was as technically challenging as it was wonderful to hear. Karin opened the program with Giulani’s Guitar Sonata “Eroica”. Any thoughts of taking notes went out the window. All my attention was on the wonderful music and brilliance with which it was being played. The rest of the audience seemed to agree given the enthusiastic applause. Then Karin was joined by the four young gentlemen who are the Orava Quartet. Now it seems I’m getting old because these four young men are just too young (and handsome!) to play with the passion, grace and fire that they do.
Listening to Boccherini’s Guitar Quintet No. 4 “Fandango” played so sublimely made me realise that this is what defines the greatest things Italian – Lamborghini and Ferrari for example. OK cars may be a bit crass given all the other art and culture of Italy but that is what came to my mind as the music flowed seamlessly from these five musicians playing as one. Not like any well-oiled machine but more like a Lamborghini, with (as I said) passion, grace and fire (and castanets).
From Italy to Spain, Karin introduced Turina’s Guitar Sonata op. 61 which was dedicated by the composer to Andrés Segovia who debuted it in January 1932. I don’t recall ever hearing Segovia play this piece but I won’t die wondering – Karin played it faultlessly and beautifully.
And then came the return of the boy band, who took us to France and Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor. Four movements, wow! One thing I do know is that playing slow is harder than playing fast and the Orava Quartet delivered the 3rd movement (Andantino, doucement expressif) flawlessly. The first, second and forth movements were no different. Did I say how much I enjoyed listening to these guys?
End of programme. Well not quite. After more enthusiastic applause Karin and the Orava Quartet finished the night with an encore which was the 2nd movement (Largo) of Vivaldi’s Guitar Concerto in D major. At last a familiar piece which Karin quite rightly dedicated to Zoli Mauritz who is the driving force behind the Music By The Sea program. A very fitting end to a wonderful evening of music in the beautifully restored Sandgate Town Hall. I am now checking into how to get onto the subscriber list.