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“I was absolutely delighted to be asked back” Matthias Balzat 

Martinborough Music Festival 27-29 September

www.martinboroughmusicfestival.co.nz

Audiences at last year’s Martinborough Music Festival (MMF) were entranced by the 19 year old cello prodigy, New Zealand born, Matthias Balzat. So constant was the praise for his playing and requests for his return, Artistic Director Vicki Jones invited Matthias to return as part of the line-up of stellar musicians for this year’s Festival. He needed no second bidding.

Matthias wrote “…it is always an honour to perform with [the] incredible musicians of New Zealand and honorary New Zealander, Chris Moore (Australian Violist) along with the ever rich programmes that we get to play – it also helps to have a wicked management team that knows what they are doing”. 

Since January, Matthias has been in Düsseldorf, Germany taking an extensive course to gain a “B2” language certificate. Being proficient in the German language is a prerequisite for studying at the Robert Schumann Hochschule für Musik. Having completed this course, Matthias is now receiving tuition with renowned cello teacher, Professor Pieter Wispelwey.

Matthias will play Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op 65 by Frederik Chopin. Chopin wrote the majority of his compositions for piano. This sonata, composed from 1845-1847, is the only cello sonata Chopin composed. He is said to have done this with great difficulty, drawing on knowledge and advice from French master cellist, August Franchomme. It was not an easy time for Chopin; he was melancholic, in poor health and distressed by the ending of his relationship with George Sands.

When the sonata was performed for the first time, critics of the day did not like his style of composition; it had an unconventional structure. The thought was, perhaps it reflected his personal circumstances. Today, scholars of Chopin are inclined to the view that he was searching for a new creative path. A style of sonata composition which Chopin was not destined to develop before he died. Contemporary critics variously describe the work as “an unquestionable masterwork, absorbing, riveting from the first bar to the last, it thrills, astonishes and delights us with rare beauty” (internet sources)

The Chopin Cello Sonata is a favourite of Vicki Jones “…it is most definitely a sonata for cello and piano, with a BIG piano part. I was delighted when Matthias and Michael Houstoun agreed to play it”.

 Audiences are in for a treat with the pairing of Matthias Balzat and Michael Houstoun playing Chopin’s Cello Sonata in G Minor,Op 65.

Winifred Bull                                                    

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