Concert: Classical styles of Europe, with a US stopover

Published: October 22, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Music transcends language barriers, and this was clearly visible on Tuesday as the German Embassy played host to a concert by Dutch soprano Luc Ket and Japanese-German pianist Yukiko Tidten-Yoshikawa.

Ket, a graduate of the Codarts Rotterdam Conservatory, has toured in Europe, North America, and Australia while also having the experience of singing with the Netherlands Opera House when she was just seven.

Japanese-born Tidten studied music in her hometown of Kyoto, before moving to France, where she studied in Paris and Lyon.

The pair performed the works of Wolfgang Mozart, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Richard Strauss, Leonard Bernstein, Manuel de Falla, Gabriel Faure, and Edvard Grieg.

By selecting the works of Germans, Austrians, an American, a Frenchman a Spaniard, and a Norwegian, the duo offered up a genuine tour of the classical styles of Europe, with a brief stopover in the US.

Though most of the programme was made up of pieces with German language lyrics, the audience was spellbound by the beautifully-performed vocals and music, especially with better known pieces such as Morgen, Apres un Reve, Abendempfindung, and Zur Rosenzeit.

Notably, the lyrics of the English language piece ‘I Hate Music’ by Bernstein — most famous for composing the music for West Side Story — got the most direct response, even though it may be argued that it was not the most famous of the songs performed.

While the eager listener would have some idea of what was being sung in foreign languages thanks to the explainers provided by Ket before each song, understanding every word as it is sung allowed for greater appreciation from the audience — mostly members of the diplomatic community but with a number of locals also in attendance.

After the concert, Michel Nehme from the French embassy praised the performance, while taking special note of Ket’s “Lovely and pure voice”. He added that her voice complemented the music and the pieces very well.

A local attendee who asked not to be named said she thoroughly enjoyed the experience, even though she had to rely on the soprano’s expressions to understand the emotions behind the vocals.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2015.

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