Cello solos and Philharmonia on the level ring through the ages

The Kosovo Philharmonic has staged works of world literature interpreted for the first time for the local public. A walk through the ages from the Romantic period has brought the virtuoso cellist, the Russian Konstantin Manaev, and the new spirit of composition. Ersan Jonuzi's "Attempt" was also premiered, with which the creativity of the new generation was proven, and the Philharmonia as a whole was appreciated for raising it to another level. "Replay" is the conditions of the hall

The Kosovo Philharmonic has tuned the sounds for romantic and modern works. Each concert of the institution is a premiere for the public, another chapter with the famous names of classical music, but not the space where they perform.

The next musical trip to the Atelier of the Palace of Youth and Sports in the capital, however, does not affect the quality of the performance and the professionalism of the Orchestra. It's the same image every time with the colored lights and the improvised scene in the completely empty space. The long row of arranged chairs distances the contact of the instrumentalists with the audience in the last rows. The sight is impossible, but the sounds echo. Initially, the announced location was the Red Hall, but the acoustics there, according to the organizers, are not suitable at all.

On Sunday night, the concert started with the work "Attempt" by the young composer Ersan Jonuzi. Her vocals were released for the first time in front of the public. The work written for string orchestra is characterized by constant rhythms, light sounds and the connection of scores with very low sounds. They start from a very low point. The performance is often interrupted, and the very light melody of a violin keeps the work connected between its parts.

The Kosovo Philharmonic has performed the work which, together with that of Hajrullah Syla, was the winner of the Chamber Music Award within the traditional awards of the Ministry of Culture in the field of music in June 2021.

For the composer of the new generation, Ersan Januzi, the interpretation of the work by the Kosovo Philharmonic is a privilege.

"The work was composed in 2021, it was announced as the winner of the annual award by the Ministry of Culture, so for me it is an honor and pleasure that the premiere will be given by the Kosovo Philharmonic. As a composer from Mitrovica, I composed the work with the aim of developing the efforts of the Arch Orchestra", stated Januzi, who said that the work leans towards post-modernity.

His work is the contrast to the rest of the program. "Cello Concerto" no.1 in E major, Op.107" by the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich with sharp contrasts has brought another spirit to the scene. The cellist Konstantin Manaev, of Russian origin, has made the playing very virtuosic, which dominates in the four tempos of the work.

"Allegretto" starts with the interpretation of a part of the spirituals. The frequent and very rhythmic sounds of the cello dominate while the playing of the accompanying Orchestra in the background is very minimal. Accompanied by trumpet and flute sounds. The role of bows is mainly finger play.

While various events take place in the background, the cello maintains a constant rhythm that despite the developments, its position is still the main one in "Moderato".

In "Cadenza (Attaca)" a series of sounds of violins, cellos and finger double basses precedes the performance of the Russian cellist. Initially the sound becomes one in play with the rest of the orchestra with a soft but very dominant sound, with pronounced vibrations. The orchestra tends to detune the sound of the main cello by giving it other parts.

In "Allegro con moto" the cello gradually increases the tension with fast sounds. One of the tupani makes way for those of the xylophone bowmen. Among the developments, a pretty good part is devoted to Manaev's solo performance.

The audience's applause brought him back to the stage several times, where he performed a part of Bach as a sign of thanks.

Cellist Manaev, who lives and works in Germany, has rated the concert in the capital as one of the best he has performed.

"It was a great pleasure for me to play here, it is my first visit to Kosovo. I felt at home because I have many friends in the Orchestra, they are very professional. I felt very good to perform chamber music with them. The atmosphere was great. I know that you don't have the concert hall that you will become, but you already have the wonderful audience, the Orchestra and the fantastic musicians", said Manaev.

"This concert was one of the best in which I have performed", said the internationally known cellist, who has performed in places such as New York, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, Berlin, Zürich, Vienna, Milan and Tokyo.

Dmitri Shostakovich's "Cello Concerto" with sharp contrasts has brought another spirit to the stage. Cellist Konstantin Manaev of Russian origin has made the playing very virtuosic, which dominates in the four tempos of the work (Photo: Enes Sahiti)

Manaev, who was born and studied in Moscow, has won over 15 prizes in international cello competitions, including Willkomirski, Adam and the European Young Concert Artists Audition in Leipzig.

The rhythms of the Romantic era are brought through "Symphony No.1 in E minor, Op.39" by the Finnish Jean Sibelius. The very serious work culminates when all the instruments come together and often the situations are reversed.

In "Andante, ma non troppo – Allegro energico" some sounds of the harp give a layer of harmony that is interrupted by the bows and winds. At first it sticks to the beat, but then the sounds are unpredictable.

In "Andante" (ma non troppo lento) melancholic rhythms are extinguished by the dynamism of the strings. Mainly very dynamic playing, interactivity between instruments and culminating play characterizes this time. It is very temperamental when the atmosphere changes suddenly.

"Scherzo: Allegro" is like a lament that is sometimes lighter and sometimes more pronounced. Extremely deep and sensitive.

"Finale (Quasi una fantasia): Andante..." has a climactic beginning that the flutes aim to normalize. The latter are extinguished from time to time, but not infrequently they are given space for expression. The sound gradually fades away until only the clarinet remains, like a fading series. From there, the archers start a revival. They come as echoes when they are repeated by other instruments that go to other effects and as if they process the sound.

The concert program was selected by conductor Gregory Charette. American Charette is a conductor and program curator dedicated to performing and promoting new music. He is the principal conductor of the "Orkestr de Ereprijs" in the Netherlands and the chief guest conductor of the Kosovo Philharmonic. He is also a lecturer and conductor of the Academic Ensemble of the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.

The director of the Kosovo Philharmonic has evaluated the program as a special literature of classical music. For the Orchestra, he said that it showed an extraordinary professional level.

"It was a great concentration of energy to realize these two works that are considered very special literature in artistic music. It was a tremendous challenge for our Orchestra to get these to be staged. The appreciation of the public and critics here was also noticed, their reactions that the Kosovo Philharmonic really showed a different level tonight. The program was very demanding and I am convinced that all the instrumentalists gave their best", said Jashari, while he considered the program too voluminous in terms of material and with many technical interpretation requirements in terms of technical aspects.

It was necessary for the stage in the Atelier to adapt to that part where the acoustics would be better, but also for the accommodation of the public. According to director Jashari, the lack of a concert hall is a problem that constantly plagues him.

"If you look at the Atelier, here we constantly try to experiment with positioning. We've gone a bit sideways analyzing how it might sound in a space that isn't designed for concerts. Also, we tried with the Red Hall, it is the problem of great dryness, there is a lack of acoustics, that echo, which would help the orchestra, but also the audience's experience", said the director of the Kosovo Philharmonic.

After two weeks, the Kosovo Philharmonic brings the next chapter of Sibelius - "Second Symphony". This concert will also be conducted by the American Gregory Charette.