KARACHI: How often do you hear a saxophone quartet in Karachi? Answer: very rarely. So what fans of Western classical music saw at the Pakistan Arts Council in Karachi on Wednesday was an audio-visual treat. Visual too, as it now appears that the debilitating effects of the pandemic are on the way out. Although the auditorium was not completely filled, quite a good number of listeners thoroughly enjoyed the performance of the Arcis Saxophone Quartett which was simply wonderful.
The Munich quartet is composed of Claus Hierluksch (soprano saxophone), Ricarda Fuss (alto saxophone), Edoardo Zotti (tenor saxophone) and Jure Knez (baritone saxophone). Of course, most of those who came to the concert didn’t know the names; they, at least some of them, were definitely familiar with the master composers whose pieces the quartet played – Ferenc Farkas, Dmitri Shostakovich, Johann Sebastian Bach, Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. Please note that the musicians did not begin their performance with the Hungarian composer’s “Dances of the 17th century”, as was included in the program and recounted by the German consul general Holger Ziegeler in his opening speech. Instead, they set the tone for the show with the national anthems of Germany and Pakistan. It was such a pleasure to hear wonderful saxophonists playing the anthems.
Between their pieces, one of the four artists took the microphone and talked about the history of the instrument (invented by Adolphe Sax) or the composers he was about to play in order to make the public feel what was happening. to come. Their effort paid off as, for example in the ‘foxtrot’ element of Shostakovich’s ‘Suite for Jazz’, music lovers were fully engaged in the story the composition was trying to tell them. That said, it was composer Bernstein’s relatively more modern “West Side Story Suite” that even had the audience applauding because of the rhythm the saxophonists generated as they tapped their feet on the stage. This may be familiar territory for those who cheered because a new movie version of West Side Story directed by Steven Spielberg was released last year.
All in all, the concert was a great experience, especially in the sense that it was the first visit to Karachi by an international group of artists after a long period bitten by Covid.
Posted in Dawn, March 11, 2022