Michel van der Aa / News / 

‘Up-close’ earns rave reviews across Europe

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Sol Gabetta, Amsterdam Sinfonietta

Up-Close, Michel van der Aa’s multimedia cello concerto for Sol Gabetta and the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, received its world premiere on 11th March at the Konserthuset in Stockholm to great critical acclaim. It was described in Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter newspaper as “A work that captivates from beginning to end”. Commissioned by ECHO, the European Concert Hall Association, Up-Close was then performed in five more European cities – Luxembourg, Brussels, Amsterdam, London and Hamburg – in just over a week, earning plaudits throughout the tour: “Brilliant, sensual, virtuosic” (La Libre, Belgium), “wonderful music” (Trouw, Netherlands), “hauntingly beautiful” (Guardian, UK), “an exciting, complex dialogue between film, electronics and live music” (Hamburger Abendblatt, Germany). Cellist Sol Gabetta, an ECHO artist of the year in 2009, was also praised for her “world-class” (Volksfreund) and “magnificent” (Trouw) performances.

Scored for solo cello, strings, electronics and film, Up-Close creates a dialogue between the live performance of a cellist on stage and an old lady (played by Vakil Eelman) on screen. Sounds from the film escape and intertwine with the music on the concert platform, drawing the two women ever closer but never quite bringing them together in an abstract drama whose theme is the rituals and trials of communication.