Instrumentalist - Cello
Colin Carr at City Hall
Artists cancel. It is bound to happen: musicians get sick, injured or have family emergencies. As a discerning ticket purchaser, however, it is easy to take it as a personal slight. Fellow concert goers looking forward to the Premiere Performances presentation of cellist Truls Mørk and pianist Kathryn Scott let out a collective groan after arriving to discover that the performance was cancelled due to finger and back injuries. That sentiment was gone within hearing a few notes from their replacement - British sensation Colin Carr - when the audience realised that this was an artist of the highest calibre.

Carr performed something that is not often heard in Hong Kong - an entire cello recital of solo Bach. The sweeping opening from the Prelude of the third Suite in C major filled City Hall Concert Hall with Carr's beautiful sound and instantly drew the audience in. It was immediately apparent that this was no ordinary Bach playing, but an original and highly personal interpretation. The phrases melted into each other with an inevitable momentum that never became bogged down or self-inflated with each individual phrase or motive. The sarabande had moments of astonishing colour and breathtaking agogic accents, while the dance movements rippled and bounced with an infectious energy.

Carr's own arrangement of the famous solo Chaconne from Bach's second violin partita was superb. The character of this difficult, virtuosic work was transformed in the lower register of the cello to one of greater breadth and mysterious grandeur. The difficult runs and double stops were executed flawlessly, with each surge to the inevitable climax growing in suspense and power. At times Carr himself was swept away by the music and sacrificed a little bit of clarity, but he never lost sight of the overall architecture in this demanding work.

The concert closed with an interpretation of the 6th Suite in D major. Carr chose to highlight certain motives and rhythms in a way that made so much sense one wonders why it would ever be played differently. The contrapuntal interplay between the phrases was highlighted so effectively, at times it was like there were two cellists on stage in pure Bachian polyphony. Most touching, however, was Carr's sincerity. His emotion and love of this music was projected to each and every one of us, but it never got in the way of Bach's intention or his own musical integrity.

Collin Carr's first encore was the Sarabande from the 5th Suite in c minor. His breathtaking pacing and soft passages left the audience spellbound. Hong Kong was truly fortunate that Collin Carr was able to come on such short notice. This was a special performance.
Jessica Bruser, Time Out Hong Kong
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