Early Music Festival Utrecht 2015 part 12: fringe duo Kilpijarvi-Gres

Fringe concert: Duo Kilpijarvi-Santapukki becomes Duo Kilpijarvi-Gres

I sauntered past Utrecht’s Pieterschurch to Kuub. At the lovely Pieterschurch with its very  tiny garden full of plants with a biblical connection, a concert by fringe musician Pia Pircher would take place. At cultural centre Kuub, a duo was going to perform in another fringe concert.

Kuub is situated close to Utrecht’s impressive St Martin’s Cathedral or Dom church. Its tower is the tallest in the Netherlands. If you have visited Utrecht, you may have walked underneath this impressive tower, which now stands at a distance of its immense church.  Cathedral and tower became separated after a storm caused the middle part of the church to collapse. The gap was never filled. Like Kuub and the St Peter’s Church, St Martin’s now also regularly hosts concerts.

Walk to the back of the cathedral and you will notice Carla’s Conditorei standing at a corner. Though it takes a tremendous effort, you’ll need to walk past it and continue towards the Pieterskerk or Peter’s Church. Pass the church entrance and head for the street on the left. A few houses down the right side of this street brings you to Kuub.

As usual, the owner of the gallery welcomed audience and artists. At the moment, an exhibition of works by Tom Eyzenbach is hosted at Kuub. Surrounded by art, the fringe concert took place.

The ticket still mentioned the duo Kilpijarvi-Santapukki, but there had been a change. Ms Santapukki had been unable to attend. Her replacement, mr Stanislav Gres, informed the public of the reason. His name was on the program and after the Kilpijarvi-Gres duo had played their first piece, he explained the reason for the unexpected change.

Ms Santapukki had had an “emergency”: she had given birth. Utrecht’s Early Music Festival takes place and babies do happen too. So mr Gres said he was a last-minute replacement – or as he put it: a second choice. Well … this second choice gave a first class performance!

And as the baby and mum are doing well, it is to be hoped that baby will either become another harpsichord virtuoso who will take part in future fringe concerts – or become a brilliant harpsichord builder. For the harpsichord on which mr Gres played, was apparently built by the new baby’s papa. It was decorated with beautiful red Japanese laquer work – the harpsichord..

Anyway, the fringe concert was first class of course, despite the duo probably not having had much time to practise together. Ms Johanna Kilpijärvi played a viola da gamba with 7 strings, which had a very beautiful sound. Ms Kilpijärvi and mr Gres started their concert with suite nr 3 in F by Marin Marais. The gavotte was pretty good, as was the gigue, but the chaconne went brilliantly.

After this piece, mr Gres mentioned a change in the program and he played a piece by a composer whose name I did not catch. The concert followed its course with suite nr 1 in d by Antoine Forqueray. It started with an Allemande de la borde, followed by la Forqueray, la Cottin, la Bellemont, la Portugaise and finishes with La Couperin.

Dance or piece after piece of this suite only seemed to increase in brilliance. The duo performed as soloists as well as together. The concert finished with Marin Marais’ well-known Tombeau pour mr de St. Colombe.

Though both are of course professional musicians, one should not underestimate the problems of performing a concert with less than the usual time to practise together. Yet both the duo gave a near perfect concert. One can’t but admire and respect such astonishing professionalism.

Duo Kilpijarvi-Gres, “Angels and Devils”, 3rd of September 2015, Kuub, Utrecht
Johanna Kilpijarvi viola da gamba (7 strings)
Stanlislav Gres harpsichord

Youtube Stanislav Gres interview and short harpsichord performance during the Utrecht Early Music Festival 2015

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