UpClose III At The Deaf Institute – Muso

Posted on July 23, 2012

UpClose III,
The Deaf Institute Monday 23rd Jul 2012

A review of the third in our series of UpClose concerts was featured in Muso Magazine’s April/May issue. Check out what they had to say about this intimate performance by Camerata.

The third in a series in which players from Manchester Camerata take thoughtfully chosen programmes of classical music to alternative Manchester venues saw a busy Deaf Institute – a bar more accustomed to noisy student clubnights and the safer end of dance and electronica – treated to a programme of Satie, Glass, Ysaÿe, Pärt and Reich.

Unlike many outfits who’ve tried to transplant classical from the concert hall to the rock club, the Camerata have clearly thought deeply about what adaptions and allowances need to be made to ensure something like this works. Instead of simply plonking some players in an unconventional venue and then running through a concert as normal, the curators of this evening knew two fundamental things: one, classical concerts are really long, and no one actually wants to sit rigid for two and a half hours; and two, it doesn’t have to be perfect – drop some stuff, make a mistake, chat among yourselves on stage if you feel like it. In other words, be as chilled as you want your audience to be – after all, no one’s going to approach classical music with a more informal, laid back and open attitude, if the players themselves aren’t also indulging in a bit of fun and laissez-faire.

That’s not to suggest, however, that the string quartet hosting this night weren’t professional – their playing, and particularly that of the orchestra’s leader Giovanni Guzzo, was exacting in Reich’s Different Trains and consummately graceful in Pärt’s Fratres. Guzzo’s solo spot, playing the ballade of Ysaÿe’s Sonata for Solo Violin No.3, was the highlight – in the work’s purposefully ragged moments, he roughed up his strings just right, and his tone was by turns finite and fleshy.

If there were drawbacks, they were only par for the course in a venue not ideally suited to classical music (the sound was a little fluffy). But less-than-perfect acoustics are a small price to pay for an atmosphere that’s relaxed enough for you to get your phone out and tweet along with the provided hashtag, yet remain attentive.

UpClose III concert at the Deaf Institute bar (6 March 2012), Laura Strain, reviewer – Muso