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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Busser

European String Quartet

It is part of our project to connect with other musicians from each country and we were lucky to have great experiences in Lisbon playing two string quartet concerts! With Marija and Tamila, two fantastic violinst, teaching both of them students in conservatories in Lisbon and Cascais, we built the first quartet, Ivan switching to the viola.

For the second concert, Jean, portuguese- armenian musician took over the viola part and Ivan played the first violin. We rehearsed in the Serbian embassy near Torre de Belém and near the famous nata place "pastéis de Belém", a very inspiring

place to play... On the program were pieces from different European countries, like always in our concerts. Next to compositions of Schubert and the Suites that Ivan wrote for various countries, the highlight of these concerts in Portugal was the Portuguese piece!

Meeting a great composer!

We had the great chance to meet and to work with the great Portuguese composer Eurico Carrapatoso! We chose to play his string quartet pieces "Llacos, contradancas e descantes" that describe many aspects of Portuguese culture! Five pieces in different character. He described the beauty and tradition of his country using typical harmonies, melancholical and quiet folk melodies and characteristical traditional dances. His music touched us very much and it was a great pleasure to play it! He assisted to our first concert, was very satisfied about our interpretation of his work and invited us to meet him for a session the next day. He worked with us and told us inside information about his music. My favourite was piece number three: "Ninho" (since first day of our rehearsals the melody was in my head and I couldn't stop singing it!). It is a very special piece, also for Mister Carrapatoso who told us about its meaning and background. He was born and grew up in a little village in Northern Portugal and his mother used to sing this melody of a typical folk song to him when he was a child. He showed us a recording of his mother's singing and it was very touching to be so close to a composers mind and his works meaning! I think I will have this piece in mind for some more time...

Concert surrounded by gold...

Playing in one of the greatest concert halls in Lisbon was the highlight of our stay in Lisbon! The Palacio Foz in the very center of Lisbon is a beautiful building, built between 18th and 19th centuries and boasting magnificently decorated interiors. Our concert was in the golden Mirror's Hall, the biggest part of the Palacio.

It was sold out until the last place and about 200 people assisted to our concert. They even sent public home as the place is limited. Not because of the space, but because of weight! The floor is historical and can only carry a certain amount of weight... And you must agree that it would be pitty (and a bit funny) that the public cracks into the floor in middle of our quartet concert... Standing ovations at the end of this concert. The public was enthousiast of our project and I must say that this "recently connected" European Quartet had developed a special sound. Although we rehearsed only a few days, there was a special energy between us and we decided to play together again after our project, in Lisbon, Germany and Serbia... The Serbian ambassador that assisted to our concert, invited us for dinner to celebrate. And it wasn't only dinner, it was the best pizza of whole Lisbon! We had interesting conversations with him and his wife, about history, art, music and we learned that oranges are named "Portugesas":-)

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