Utrecht Early Music Festival 2016 part 25: Café 1800

As usual, I had planned to obtain tickets for a fringe concert at a small venue. Concerto Valiante was going to perform at the period house Huize Molenaar. As had been the case on several days of this Early Music Festival 2016, the fringe ticket boot had opened at 09:00 and within 30 minutes, all tickets for the Concerto Valiante fringe concert had evaporated – while plenty people interested in this particular concert were still on their way to Utrecht.

Fortunately, this time the organisation had managed to schedule alternative fringe concerts. So quite by accident, I attended the fringe concert by Café 1800 for a concert on traditional clarinets and basset horns. And what fun this concert turned out to be!

20160903 Mozart memorial stone

The Mozart family stayed in Utrecht

On my way to the venue, I had accidentally stumbled upon a commemorative stone in the pavement of the Minderbroederstraat. A street name commemorating poor monks. Here a stone in the pavement commemorated someone else. At what now is the Utrecht Schiller Theatre, once stood a tavern and it was here the Mozart family spend some time during one of their European tours.

How fitting a discovery! For Juan José Molero Ramos and Kayo Nishida who form the Café 1800 duo, were going to perform works by Mozart! Before the two started their interesting concert, Mr Molero Ramos explained the duo’s odd name. Early in their careers, both musicians played at café’s, restaurants, dinner parties to earn some pocket-money. At a certain café, the name of this ensemble was apparently coined.

Mr Molero Ramos then explained a bit about arrangements at the time of Mozart and his contemporaries. He went into the history of some of the works Café 1800 was going to play and introduced the captivated audience to the basset horn.

Ms Nishida and Mr Molero Ramos started their concert with well-known tunes from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte KV620, though in an arrangement for two clarinets by Johann Georg Busch dating to 1806. The seven tunes were followed by an interesting duet in F Opus 1 nr 2 by Joseph Pranzer. Another duet, rearranged by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach in 1789 followed. By then – as I was sitting near a window – I noticed reflections of people in windows of buildings across the street. They stopped and listened to the charming music, coming from one floor above them.

20160903 Near Polman House  (1)

An Utrecht canal near the Polman Huis, where Café 1800 performed

The charming concert became even more charming, when Ms Nishida and Mr Molero Ramos changed their instruments for the last set of works. They performed six of the 12 duets composed by Mozart for horn. Mozart had a set of friends who were talented musicians. Among them was at least one horn player for whom he specifically composed pieces. It was easy to imagine Mozart and his cronies sitting somewhere late in the evening, having fun and teasing each other as Café 1800 were doing during their last few pieces of this concert. A note regarding the basset horn used by the duo during this part of the concert: it does not sound at all like a horn, but more like a big brother of the wooden clarinets used in the first part of this fringe concert.

The duo was going to perform again during the Early Music Festival: on Sunday 4th of September, at the micro brewery and café Oudaen. Their second audience will undoubtedly have enjoyed the concert as much as I have.

Duo Café 1800:
Kayo Nishida clarinet and basset horn
Juan José Molero Ramos clarinet and basset horn

The duo played the following pieces:
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, from Die Zauberflöte KV620, arrangement by Johann Georg Busch:
Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen
Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja
Konnte jeder brave Mann
Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen
Schelle Füsse, rascher Mut
Bald prangt den Morgen zu verkünden

Joseph Pranzer: duet in F Opus 1 nr 2:
Allegro and Andante con variazioni

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: duet fort wo clarinets H 639 (1755, rearranged 1789)
Adagio e sostenuto followed by Allegro

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: 12 duets for (basset) horns KV 487
Menuetto & Trio
Allegro & Trio


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