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Faneromeni 18 festival ends with a serenade

Summer and Nicosia do not mix well. But livening up the quiet every Thursday since June has been the Faneromeni18 Arts Festival. Over the last four months the festival, which has drawn crowds to the courtyard of the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation, has brought concerts, film screenings, musical theatre performances and films. No two performances were alike and for lovers of music perhaps the best performance has been left for last.

On Thursday A Philharmonic Seduction with the Koncz Ensemble Vienna will be staged, providing an hour’s worth of Viennese classical music. The event is not just a treat for all and the best way to close the festival, it is also a collaboration between the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation and the Embassy of Austria to celebrate the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2018.

The event will be led by members of the Philharmonics of Vienna and Berlin Christoph Koncz and Gerhard Marschner on violins and Stephan Koncz on cello.

These three exceptional musicians will present Beethoven’s early Serenade op. 8, Ernst von Dohnanyi’s Serenade op. 10. and a piece composed by Stephan Koncz, which will be played for the first time.

Christoph and Stephan Koncz are brothers from a family of classical musicians. The musical family has performed together on a number of occasions and the two brothers share a strong connection, musically and personally, according to Christoph.

All three musicians, who all grew up in Vienna and have always been part of the classical music scene, often perform together in different settings. Stephan was a member of the Vienna Philharmonic for two years before joining the Berlin Philharmonic in 2010. Christoph and Gerhard have been members of the Vienna Philharmonic for a long time and they are both section leaders. Gerhard is principal viola and Christoph is principal second violin.

Speaking about the concert and what the audience will hear, Christoph explained that “the audience can expect chamber music of two outstanding composers in an extraordinary outdoor setting, which will reflect the serenade mood found in the music very well.”

While the audience takes a trip through three different musical centuries, they will not get lost in the past, as the way in which these compositions were performed at the time of their creation differs from the way they are performed today. Also, Beethoven’s early Serenade op. 8 was originally written for only three instruments and this reveals an indescribable complexity.

Speaking about how the performance of the pieces will differ from when they were written, Christoph said “string instruments have evolved quite a lot since Beethoven’s times. We use different material for the strings and generally the instruments are now louder and more reliable. Other than that, it is generally our highest goal as recreating artists to come as close to the composer’s intention as possible and to express the emotions which are included in this beautiful music in all its subtleties.”

Christoph will also make sure the music is understood by presenting a few historic and musical details about the pieces.
Given away a few of the facts about Dohnanyi’s piece before the concert, the violinist said that the composer wrote the Serenade when he was 25 years old. “How he uses only three instruments to bring out his musical ideas makes this serenade a very attractive masterpiece,” Christoph said.

The last piece of the night will leave behind the past centuries and bring us up-to-date. The audience is in for a treat as the piece by Stephan will have its world premiere at the festival. “Stephan wrote this piece especially for this occasion,” his brother said.

The programme, Christoph said, was designed to ensure that the festival ends on a high note. But in order to achieve this high note, the violinist advises audience members to “bring an open heart and an open mind and be ready to be enchanted by this beautiful Serenade music in the wonderful atmosphere of the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation’s courtyard.”

A Philharmonic Seduction
Concert by the Koncz Ensemble Vienna as part of the third Faneromeni 18 Festival. September 20. Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation, Nicosia. 9pm. Free. Tel: 22-128157