There is a different excitement in the air when young people are the performers and when children make up a significant portion of the audience. And it is real excitement – anticipation of the expected and unexpected, as they gossip and switch seats and move the chairs on the ground to make a loud reverberating noise, and send each other hand signals and laugh and giggle and … Fun – that’s the word, they are already are having fun. And we haven’t started yet.
We are in the Barons’ Hall in Bled Castle. Festival Bled tonight features a local and very special children’s musical ensemble Do-Re-Mi. And perhaps like other nights in Festival, a peek into the future of music
The audience silences and the first trio come from the back of the hall which is filled with at least 200 maybe 300 people. The youngest member of the audience I saw, standing on a chair was no more than 3 years old and enchanted by what she was seeing.
Katarina Viher – violin, Ana Viher – violin and Alma Pleteršek – cello begin with Haydn’s String trio in G major op 21. They play it witha confidence that says that they know exactly what they are doing and sitting before an audience is what they are meant to do. They are received energetically – and deservedly, too.
Trio Le Bouqet follow. They are just a little older. They are Maša Cilenšek – flute, Ajda Portenta – violin, and Pavla Lušin – guitar. They again look fantastic, confident, and in charge. They play three pieces Joseph Kreutzer Trio for Flute, Violin and Guitar (superb) and two sambas by Klaus Wüsthoff. Just because this is a less formal setting than some of the concerts in Festival Bled does not mean that the musicians’ approach is any less serious, or the audience appreciation is any less. There is a strong feeling of family in the event, but outsiders – like me – are just as welcome to enjoy.
Then, the choir.
“Do-Re-Mi Youth Choir consists of girls aged 12 to 16. The girls play different instruments and share the same passion and love for music. “The choir is led by Primož Kerštanj. Under his leadership the choir won the golden plaque at the national choir competition in Zagorje ob Savi in the years 2011 and 2013. At the regionals, the choir attained national level also in 2015.”
You can finds out more about the story and ethos of the choir on the website. Their’s is a unique approach to understanding, learning and performing music. But it starts with song.
The 15 piece choir began with some folk songs, some quite simple and others more harmonically challenging, then through some film songs – “Let it go” from Frozen and Elton John’s ”Can you feel the love tonight?”.
The two outstanding pieces to finish were “Šahasta tokata” (which has confounded Google and Wikipedia so all I can say is – great humour – nice presentations — and that’s why there was a chessboard on stage).
Tina Hribar accompanied the choir and for the final song was joined by Nusa Piber on congas for “Cantus iterates” by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins. A mix on modern choir with African echoes to end a splendid evening.
One of the great joys of events like this and Festival Bled is that it exposes you to music you have not heard before. I have never heard of Klaus Wüsthoff. I’ll be spending some time soon researching his music – especially any other sambas there might be.