'PRINSES ENSEMBLE' Live in Concert

A Concert by the ‘PRINSES ENSEMBLE
Organised by the ‘Hyderabad Western Music Foundation’
At the Kohinoor, Taj Deccan
On 7th March 2010
 
 
An Utterly Charming Evening
It was an utterly charming evening! Not just for the selection of music that was played, and the young musician’s proficiency, ardour and attention to detail, but also for their personal charm, simplicity and buoyant youthfulness.
 
While they are not really an ensemble, what has brought these young musicians together is that they are all winners of various prizes at the prestigious Prinses Christina Concours Competitions that are held in Netherlands. And the musicians, all three young women, Rianne Jongsma, flute, Andrea Vasi, piano, and Nora Fischer, soprano performed like professionals, going ahead with the show even though the only male performer and equally important musician, violinist Bas Treub, was indisposed.
 
The concert programme
The concert programme was built around each musician, and so, the first part was flute and piano, the second part would have been violin and piano, but this did not happen, the third part was piano and the fourth part was Soprano and piano. Since the violinist was not well, it was decided that there would not be an interval and the audience could enjoy the music without interruption.
 
The evening began with a short ‘no frills’ introduction by Joe Koster, director of the Hyderabad Western Music Foundation, who is responsible for the concert along with Anand Singh Bawa, the Prinses Christina Concours and the Taj Deccan; the rest of the evening was left to the young musicians to perform.
 
Rianne Jongsma
It started with the flute. And the Flute was played by Rianne Jongsma, just 20 years old; the youngest of the musicians,ss Rianne has won prizes in the Prinses Christina Concours in 2006 and 2007; is the first flute player of the Frisian Youth orchestra and the Dutch Youth Orchestra and has toured several countries before this tour of India.
 
Rianne started off with the Rondo in E, a little known piece by F.X. Mozart, W.A Mozart’s youngest son. This melodic piece was a good vehicle to showcase the beauty and purity of tone of Rainne’s flute. Her next piece was again was from the ‘Suite for flute and piano’ opus 34: Scherzo and Romance by C.M. Widor, the brisk scherzo leading to the dreamy and imaginative romance. And she continued with Antonin Dvorak’s ‘Humoresque, No 7’, for flute and piano. This piece was familiar to the most of the audience who enjoyed the performance. Both Rianne the flautist and Andrea Vasi the pianist played with competence and lyricism.
 
Andrea Vasi
Next was the turn of Andrea Vasi, just 21 years old, this petite young pianist has won the Prinses Chritina Concours competitions in 2004 and 2006, she has also won the international Steinway competition in 2006, and has performed at concerts throughout the world. She is an amazingly sensitive pianist. 
 
Andrea Vasi played Ludwig van Beethtoven’s Six Bagatellen Op. 126. This collection of 6 pieces is played in order as a single work and is regarded as a unit. The opening piece bagatelle 1. ‘Adante con moto’ is a serene pleasant and light, followed by bagatelle 2. ‘Allegro’ which is lively, playful yet with some stormy passages, bagatelle 3. ‘Andante’ tranquil and serene. Bagatelle 4. ‘Presto’ was full of driving rhythms. And 5. Quasi allegretto was gentle and dreamy, and 6 ‘Presto – Andanteamabile e con moto – Presto’ begins in a surge and swirl becomes calm and collected and ends with a return to the heroic surge of the opening theme. Andrea played with the great effect, absolute assurance and control creating an intense atmosphere as the pieces required, which was in turns dynamic and tender, intimate and heroic. It was a superb experience to listen to Andrea Vasi.
 
Nora Fischer
And then came the 23 year old, vivacious soprano, Nora Fischer, she was a burst of fresh air, a breeze, a storm in an already charged atmosphere. Perhaps it was the giggling fit that overcame Nora and Andrea who accompanied her; triggered off by a reluctant mike stand and the inadvertent sounds it produced while it was being adjusted for height; but the giggling fit helped add to the sense of lightness and fun and underlined the charm of their youth in a musically charged atmosphere.
 
Nora Fischer started her set with a pretty Swedish psalm, ‘Sion Klagar’ a capella, for the next five pieces she was accompanied by Andrea Vasi on the Piano, beautifully rendering the songs ‘Chanson de la Mariee’ by Maurice Ravel, ‘The Plaint’ by H. Purcell, ‘Nana’ by Manuel de Falla, ‘Fantoches’ by Claude Debussy, and finally George Gershwins ‘Summertime’. Nora’s voice showed exceptional depth and feeling for the music she was doing, her voice light textured yet full bodied, refreshingly transparent and understated. The human voice as a delightful instrument of music, which reflected different moods and intimations! It was a pleasure to hear her.
 
Its Summertime
As an encore, the three musicians got together to do ‘Summertime’ again, but this time in a different interpretation, which was if possible, even better than it was done previously, not just because of the addition of the flute which was very good, but because the interpretation and arrangement pulled at different emotional strings in an already overwhelmed audience.          

The show ended as it began, simply and elegantly, and the three performers whose personal charm was overwhelmed by their musical ability were given bouquets by the organisers.