For years, musicians of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra have been giving chamber music concerts in the Recital Hall as part of the Close-up Series. These intimate concerts organised by the Friends of the Concertgebouw and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra present a unique opportunity to enjoy up close these outstanding musicians’ individual qualities in small ensembles.
For centuries, music lovers have been enchanted with the full, warm sound of the cello. The cellists of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, aka the RCO Cello Society, are presenting a programme showcasing the many faces of the instrument. After a set of variations by the Dutch composer Sweelinck, who lived on the cusp between the Renaissance and the Baroque periods, we hear the beloved cello melodies of Boccherini, one of the first composers to treat the cello like a virtuoso solo instrument. Then it’s on to the twentieth century. The legendary cellist Pablo Casals arranged a Catalan folk song and performed it for President John F. Kennedy in 1961. Pärt’s modest Fratres, known in dozens of arrangements, is then performed in a version for four cellos. Finally, for Françaix’s Scuola di celli, nearly the entire cello section takes to the stage!