EIF 2014: Chamber Concerts, Queen's Hall, Review

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Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo soprano), Daniel Hope (violin), Bengt Forsberg (piano), Bebe Risenfors (accordion/double bass/guitar)
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The ensemble this morning consisted of the Swedish mezzo soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, the violinist Daniel Hope, the pianist Bengt Forsberg and Bebe Risenfors who played accordion, double bass and guitar.

The concert centred around and simulated the type of cabaret musical events which were performed and composed by talented musicians who were incarcerated in the Czechoslovakian Terezin concentration camp where the bulk of the Jewish ‘cultural elite’ were interned. Music has the ability to transcend barriers and pain and many of the compositions played this morning were written inside the camp and as such have a certain poignancy.

The choice of programme, with its range of musical genres, afforded the audience an opportunity to hear the virtuosity of the players.

Anne Sofie von Otter’s versatile voice comfortably oscillated from the tenderness of Erika Taube’s ‘Ein judisches Kind' (A Jewish Child) to Manfred Greiffenhagen’s jazzy piece ‘Das Lied von den zwei Ochsen’ (The Song of the Two Oxen).

Bengt Forsberg played accomplished, sensitive piano in Karel Berman’s selection of eight pieces entitled ‘Reminiscences, in which some of the pieces were technically extremely challenging.

Daniel Hope was superb on violin – particularly in the second movement of Erwin Schulhoff’s Sonata for Solo violin - and Bengt Forsberg provided funky bass in ‘Das Lief von den zwei Ochsen.’

It was a moving concert and a reminder of the power of music which even when one is in the depths of despair still has the ability to move emotions and even, at times, create joy.