An Evening of Chamber Music at the Goethe Institut, Kolkata

It was a privileged audience who was invited to one of the most delightful concerts of the season at the new auditorium of the Goethe Institut, now in Park Mansions Park Street.

On an early Saturday evening, even with the traffic at its most frenetic state, who would have cared to miss this rare treat? The invitation from Mr. Raghu Mody to an “Evening of Chamber Music” on Sat 10th February took us to Max Mueller Bhavan, and was preceded by a sumptuous ‘high tea’. The introductory speeches by Rita Bhimani were brief and informative, and after a pleasantly humourous welcome address by Mr. Raghu Mody, it was straight ahead to the performance.

Founder member of the Jacques Thibaud Trio Berlin, Burkhard Maiss plays the viola and is the general spokesperson of the evening. His experience and work is formidable. Markus Placci, who plays the violin is the winner of seemingly countless awards and competitions and Bogdan Jianu on cello, has traveled round the world with the trio for eleven years. This evening featured the trio and two quartets; with none other than His Excellency, Ambassador Dr. Martin Ney playing Flute.

Apart from his many other qualifications and achievements, Dr. Ney has played with many acclaimed international orchestras. The concert began with the flute quartet KV 171 by W. A.Mozart. This charming little starter in two movements, Allegro and Thema con Variozoni, with its distinctively Mozartian rhythm and melodic appeal, played flawlessly with the lucid phrasing of the flute; followed by the trio op 9/1 by Beethoven.

The art of chamber music playing is one of the most demanding in delicacy and interpretative communication. Each instrument has its characteristic individuality and yet maintains intimate communication with each voice; as in a Bach fugue; Beethoven and Mozart, as did Haydn and others, imbibe such elements from Bach; and here was the much loved Beethoven trio played with such clarity and energy as it ended in the breath taking presto.

Following the short break was the Schubert string trio in just one movement Allegro. Beautiful and hauntingly lyrical and played with exquisite finesse, they closed with the Mozart quartet KV 285 for flute and strings. Martin Ney once again, with great virtuosity on the flute and for an encore, what better than to close with the rondo!

A great pity that such a special presentation could not be shared with the many young students and music lovers in the city! Perhaps we can hope for another visit soon?