By Mudassir Raja
Nothing can be more rewarding than attending a mesmerising classical western music concert on a cool winter evening in the elegant auditoriums of Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC).
Orchestral music enthusiasts and concertgoers were recently provided with an opportunity to relish thoroughly classical western music performance by the troupe of Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) and two young and outstanding guest artistes – Elias Grandy, conductor, and Savitri Grier, violinist.
The concert ‘Elgar’s Enigma Variations’ was a part of the Qatar British Festival 2019. The classical music lovers attended the concert in large numbers and earnestly applauded Enigma Variations, the composition of Edward Elgar, a much-celebrated English composer. There were other works also that enchanted the audience in the auditorium.
The mastery of Edward Elgar (1857-1939) can best be understood in the words of Bernard Shaw, an Irish playwright, critic, polemicist and political activist. He said about his contemporary: “Edward Elgar, the figure head of music in England, is a composer whose rank is neither prudent nor indeed possible to determine. A young man from the West Country without a musical degree, proceeding calmly and sweetly on the unconscious assumption, he was by nature and destiny one of the great composers. He does not appear in music as an experimenter and explorer, like Scryabin and Schönberg. He took music where Beethoven left it, and where Schumann and Brahms found it. His musical mind was formed before Wagner reached him: and his natural power over the material then before him was so great that he was never driven outside it by lack of means for expressing himself. And certainly his music acted very differently.”
Elias Grandy, prizewinner of the prestigious Solti Competition and appointed General Music Director of the Theatre and Orchestra of Heidelberg, is quickly becoming one of the rising German conductors of his generation. Serving for several years as Kapellmeister at the Staatstheater Darmstadt, he has acquired a large repertoire ranging from Mozart to contemporary composers.
Savitri Grier is a formidable violinist of full tone and strong personality. Grier’s tone was sweet and elegant, and surprisingly mellow, wonderfully and technically assured. She has sungs Elgar’s line effortlessly but brought welcome flashes of temperament and gave a thoughtful, inward account of the concerto.
During the 2019/20 season, Savitri makes her debut as soloist with the Concerto Budapest, City of Birmingham Youth and Qatar Philharmonic Orchestras.
She gives recitals in Mumbai, and concerts across Europe at the Podium Festival (Stuttgart), in Warsaw, Sendesaal Bremen, Chapelle Royale Brussels, Royal Welsh College of Music and Cambridge Music Festival.
Talking to Community, Rohan Stephens, head of programmes and partnership British Council, said: “Savitri’s performance with QPO at QNCC is the part of the sixth edition of annual Qatar British Festival. This festival works to improve connections between the two countries. We are thrilled to have her here. She represents one of the best examples of what has been art in the UK. She is an award-winning violinist. She has started developing a strong fan base.”
He further shared: “The Qatar British Festival 2019 titled ‘Exploring People and Place’ concluded recently. The British Council, in partnership with the British Embassy organised the festival from 18 November - 7 December. The festival celebrated the strong and long-standing relationship between Qatar and the United Kingdom through the expression of public art, photography, music and film. Officially opened by Ajay Sharma, British Ambassador to Qatar, with Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, General Manager of Katara, and Sam Ayton, Director, British Council Qatar, the festival’s theme ‘People and Place’ examined the impact of ‘place’ on us and in turn, our impact on place and the long-lasting, positive effects of cultural connection and exchange between the people of Qatar and the people of the United Kingdom. The festival concluded with the Qatar-UK Alumni Awards; a celebration of the enduring success cultural exchange can bring to societies, through education.”
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