Sunday, 3 July 2011

Guitares en Cormatinois – Emmanuel Rossfelder

Last Saturday was the second concert in the series “Guitares en Cormatinois”, given by guitarist Emmanuel Rossfelder and the Italian flute ensemble Toscanini. The concert was held in the open air, i.e. in the old deanery of Saint-Hippolyte. Rossfelder is one of the mainstays of the festival, the ensemble was an amateur group of 18 (most of them female) flute players, and the gigantic tower of the deanery is a landmark visible for miles around. The pièce de résistance of the evening had to be Rodrigo’s Concerto d’Aranjuez, and I would like to make a note about this in particular.
In the past I once started collecting all sort of renditions of Mussogsky’s “Pictures at an exhibition” (originally written for piano). Well known are Ravel’s orchestration and Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s rendition, but there are also renditions written performed by a brass band, brass band and carillon, street organ, etc. Most of these pieces are more a curiosum than serious music, although very often fun to listen to once.
The same went for Rodrigo’s piece. Some of the flute players had problems hitting the right note every so often, the piccolos sounded like one of the males had just pinched one of the females in the bottom, and the arrangement was or was played very blandly. Rossfelder gave the impression he did not really take the piece or the whole concert seriously. The rest of the evening followed the same pattern. The ensemble played a.o. Pachelbel’s Canon and the allegro from Mozart’s Symphonie no. 40, pieces which are too well known to stand up after being treated this way. Rossfelder’s routine and craftsmanship could save neither Vivaldi’s concerto in D major nor
Tarrega's variations on Carnival of Venice. All in all, this concert was not of the standard we are used to of this festival, which is a pity. It could certainly not be blamed on the ambiance, which was stunning!

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