The magic returns
True to her word, Jennifer Heemstra (picture) comes back to Calcutta at judiciously spaced intervals to keep her tryst with the city. The first concert of hers this year was hosted at the Hyatt Regency, and was well-attended. Much like the last concert at the same venue, the open air acoustics left much to be desired, even with extra microphones. A reflective sound screen behind the performers might have been better, but why could the concert not have taken place indoors in the banqueting hall, as it had been for the delightful performance last year with Chelsea Coyne?
Of the three musical events in the series attended, I enjoyed the freshness and sincerity of the presentation at Uttam Mancha. Named the Hathor Fair, this series aims at bringing musical entertainment and medical relief to the trafficked women of the city and their children. From the utter chaos of pre-performance preparation to the start of the concert, Heemstra guided her performers and helpers with humour and energy. The two visiting artists were the charming Carrie Pierce and the young Wynn McCormack. They opened with Astor Piazzolla's " Oblivion", Alberto Ginastera's Pampeana No. 2 for cello and piano and Vivaldi's Concerto in G minor for two cellos and piano.
At the new Goethe Institute auditorium, the programme included selections from an encore repertoire - " Gabriel's Oboe" by Ennio Morricone, Dvorak's "Songs My Mother Taught Me", the second and fourth allegro movements from Shostakovich's Sonata for cello and piano, the haunting Prelude for two cellos and piano, and Granados's "Orientale".
David Popper's " Hungarian Rhapsody" brought the show to a close. Heemstra's performance and technique were excellent as always. Pierce has wonderful technique with an innate sense of interpretation which was slightly lost this evening. The ubiquitous but unsung Reena Dewan cannot be forgotten - she worked on an artistic creation alongside the music. One strove to make a connection between the portrayal of kitchenware against an indistinct background - always the promise of food for thought. McCormack will go back with the experience of having performed with two fine professionals.