Thursday 5 November 2015

A look back on At Lunch - James Calver

James Calver, Concerts Director, shares a fond memory from our April 2011 At Lunch concert...

Marcelo Nisinman (c) Karin van der Meul
One of my fondest Britten Sinfonia At Lunch memories was back in 2011 (in my previous role as Concerts Assistant), when Thomas Gould (violin), Huw Watkins (piano), Caroline Dearnley (cello) and Stephen Williams (double bass) performed a Piazolla-inspired programme with guest artist Marcelo Nisinman (bandoneon).  Marcelo Nisinman is internationally renowned in his field, and much in demand as a soloist playing with orchestras and at festivals around the world. He has performed with, Martha Argerich, Gidon Kremer, Gary Burton, Fernando Suarez Paz, Assad Brothers, and the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Charles Dutoit, and formed his own world-famous quartet ‘Tango Factory’ in 2009.

Moodily-lit, laced with thigh-slapping rhythms, percussive string techniques, and featuring a newly-written piece by Mexican composer Enrico Chapela, Nanobots, this At Lunch tour had an ‘end of term’ vibe, Britten Sinfonia doing what we do best: exploring music outside what one might normally expect to hear filling Wigmore Hall on a wet Wednesday lunchtime in April...

I turned pages for Huw, and found myself doing so with a certain uncontrollable Argentinian flare. It was that easy to become this immersed in the music and infected by the style and atmosphere, to the extent that I’ve never really felt so much a part of a performance than at this moment, particularly in the closing work of the concert: a dramatic performance of Piazolla’s Curato Estaciones PoteƱas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires), in a version close to the original written and performed by the composer himself and his quintet. It brought the house down.

At Britten Sinfonia, we’ve often adapted and expanded At Lunch programmes into full-length evening performances, this being one of those occasions.  Marking the start of a new series entitled ‘Unbuttoned’ at the newly-built APEX concert hall in Bury St. Edmunds, we gave an intimate ‘in-the-round’ cabaret-style performance of the programme with a couple of additions.  Thom Gould instructed me to “show some chest hair” when I was about to turn for the final piece…the event was Unbuttoned in every sense of the word.  

James Calver, Concerts Director

Find out more about the last ten years of At Lunch on our website, and don't forget to take part in our competition to be in with a chance of winning two tickets to an At Lunch concert this season.

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