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October 23, 2011

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Cellists in the mood for love

A CLASSIC music concert doesn't have to be classically serious. Though the idea is often mentioned by many classic musicians today, few spectators understand until they witness and hear the fun of the 5+1 Cellists of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

The six cellists are coming to Shanghai Oriental Art Center next Sunday with a fun love story told through music. The concert is part of the 13th Shanghai International Arts Festival.

The 5+1 Cellists of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 2002 by Gerhart Kaufmann, a former Vienna Philharmonic member.

"You cannot name us simply as six cellists, since 5+1 doesn't equal to six in our case," Kaufmann explains. "We are five youth plus one old man; five gentlemen plus a lady. We are not simply six. I am already in my 60s while the youngest cellist is only 20."

There are no settled masters in the group. Kaufmann insists that everyone is free to display his or her own technique and personality, but that he or she still has to work with the other group members.

The first part of the concert will be composed of traditional classic music including Vivaldi's "Double Cello Concerto in G Minor," Ravel's "Vocalise Etude en forme de Habanera" and Dvorak's "Concert for Violoncello H-Minor 1."

The concertos have been adapted into a version for six cellos, without a chief cellist. Each one will step forward in turns to play his or her part like a competition, according to Kaufmann.

If that's not fun enough, the second part will be a story about a couple falling in love at first sight and getting married.

Different music will help tell the story. For example, Liszt's "Liebestraum" will be played to represent the man's yearning for his true love, while Piazzola's "Oblivion" will be the woman's response. Mozart's "Magic Flute" will witness the couple's reunion; the Chinese composition "Red Detachment of Women" will accompany the couple on their honeymoon in China.

In addition, quite a number of Austrian and Chinese folk songs will be played to represent the couple's wedding ceremony.


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