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The evening concert, sold out as could have been expected, opened with Bohorquez performing Bach's Sonata in G (arrangement: F Ronchini) in a three cello version, alongside Nicolas Altstädt and Julian Arp. Bohorquez, who is used by now to the high expectations people have of him, fulfils these to perfection. His playing is technically impeccable and bears a distinct stamp of his own charismatic style. Altstädt, half-French and half-German, is the female heartbreaker of the group, incidentally. His striking good looks, Bohemian style and laid-back playing turn this young cellist into a feast for the eye.

Following the opening piece, Julian Arp remained on stage and his impressive performance of Debussy's Sonata for cello and piano in D minor touched everyone's hearts. It became obvious that he is a truly deserving recipient of the scholarship. From the group of six final Pergamenschikow students he is among those voted most likely to succeed internationally and it became clear why. Give him a cello and he changes from an ordinary young man with curly hair and a boyish grin into someone about whom even the highly critical Bernard Greenhouse, judging Arp's performance in his masterclass the following day, had to exclaim: 'Very sensitive, very lovely. You get very much involved in what you are saying. Bravo Julian!'

A revelation also was the performance of Danjulo Ishizaka, accompanied by Mara Mednik, who played an exciting chamber music version of Tchaikovsky's Pezzo Capriccioso in B minor for Cello and Orchestra Op 62. The German-born cellist with the Japanese name is also among the group considered most likely to succeed by cello experts, and Sony Classics have already given him their vote of confidence by producing his first solo CD. While Bohorquez's playing is filled with elegant refinement, and Julian Arp's touches on the full depth of the most beautiful emotions known to music and to man, Danjulo's cello is outgoing and brightly shines through. This is because he is another young man in whom Pergamenschikow has laid the groundwork that is likely soon to make him a household name. Bernard Greenhouse was in the audience and so was Frans Helmerson. Both of them could be seen applauding the young man's performance with enthusiasm.

After the break, Julian Arp received his scholarship award, preceded by heartfelt speeches from Raimund Trenkler and Tania Pergamenschikow. 'Boris Pergamenschikow has been a huge part of our success here at Kronberg', Trenkler said, remembering his friend and fellow cellist, 'and he will continue to be a part of our work here at Kronberg in the years to come because in his spirit we will continue teaching and making excellent music here.'

Utterly moving was Claudio Bohorquez's compassionate world première that followed, of the fifth movement of Krzysztof Penderecki's Divertimento for Violoncello Solos. This work, which is dedicated to Pergamenschikow, will one day consist of seven movements. As a three-movement work (Serenade-Scherzo-Notturno) it had been premièred by Boris Pergamenschikow in December 1994. The Sarabande, now the first movement, was later added and premièred by Pergamenschikow in March 2001. Now Bohorquez has taken over the bow from his mentor to present to the public for the very first time the new fifth movement, the Tempo di Valse, which was dedicated by the composer to the memory of the great Russian cellist.

Claudio Bohorquez plays Penderecki. Photo © 2004 Phil Crebbin
Claudio Bohorquez plays Penderecki. Photo © 2004 Phil Crebbin

Julian Steckel was another one who received bravos when he delighted the audience with Schumann's Adagio and Allegro, expertly partnered by Mara Mednik who allowed him fully to enter into the work and negotiate its most complicated sections without even the slightest trace of disorder. And a real treat that sent those present into enthusiastic, rhythmic waves of pleasure was the final piece of the evening's program, when Pergamenschikow-friend-and-colleague Elsbeth Moser on the Bajan joined the very Bohemian-inspired Nicolas Altstädt for Piazzolla's Grand Tango.

As though that was not enough to bring the evening to an unforgettable conclusion, a gripping encore followed with ten celli performing together for Rachmaninov, all of them played by Pergamenschikow's former students and/or associates, some of them with very expensive instruments producing a compelling beauty of sound. This completed the evening with a display of cello-fellowship that nobody is likely to forget. Claudio Bohorquez, incidentally, played from the original handwritten score of Pergamenschikow, the others reading from copies of the same.

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Copyright © 11 November 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany


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