Fantastic example of people enjoying music

As a youngster, for me “classical” music was the type of stuff that only posh people went to hear. There was no way that these people could possibly enjoy such music.

Not only that, but there were lots of strange rules that didn’t seem to make any kind of sense, like not clapping when the music seemed to come to an end. How did these people know when to clap and when not to clap? It was certainly a mystery to me.

The recent concert organised by Shetland Arts in St Columba’s Church in Lerwick given by Arcomelo was a fantastic example of people just enjoying the music. This was the first concert I had attended in the newly refurbished Big Kirk, and I have to say it worked extremely well as a concert venue.

The vice chairman of Shetland Arts, Jim Johnston, who congratulated the congregation of Lerwick’s St Columba’s Church for the magnificent refurbishment of the building, introduced the concert. He assured us that we were in for an absolute treat. We were certainly not to be disap­pointed. This was a small six-piece music ensemble of the very highest quality.

The concert presented an evening of music by Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678-1741), nicknamed il Prete Rosso (“The Red Priest”). He was a baroque music composer and Venetian priest, as well as being a famous virtuoso violinist who was born and raised in the Republic of Venice. The Four Seasons, a series of four violin concerti, is his best-known work and a highly popular baroque piece.

Arcomelo performed five relatively short pieces and included three pieces in which they were joined by the brilliant soprano Elena Bertuzzi, who had the most beautiful voice. This made for an absolutely joyous experience, and left the audience with a keen desire for more. The concert lasted just over an hour, but it must be measured in terms of its quality rather than its length.

The other members of this superb and youthful sextet were: Michele Benuzzi (organ), Ulrike Slowik (violin), Matteo Zanatto (viola), Carlo Giuseppe Goj (viola) and Takashi Kaketa (cello).

Arcomelo, founded by Michele Benuzzi, is composed of several musicians from different backgrounds, who have studied baroque music for a number of years and have played original period instruments.

The audience were treated at the end of the concert by short recital piece by Michele Benuzzi on the Big Kirk’s organ. He attacked the organ with such tremendous vigour, and showed what the church organ can do if really pushed.

I was left with a feeling that I could have listened to them all evening. It was worth every single penny of my £10 ticket. Thank you Shetland Arts for a wonderful evening.

Arthur Watt


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