Vakhtang Kakhidze 88 248.
(photo credit: Maxim Reider)
In its 11th edition, Classicameri - a classical music festival in Eilat, produced by the Israeli Chamber Orchestra together with Isrotel hotel chain - treated its devoted audience to a most enjoyable and variegated program. It swayed from tried-and-true symphonies by Haydn and Mozart under the precise baton of Israeli maestro Yoav Talmi to the hits of the Sixties - presented the same day by the fiery Sixties Band, together with members of the Chamber Orchestra.
Beaming with a love of music and a love of audience, popular percussionist Chen Zimbalista, with composer/pianist Evgeny Levitas by his side, presented a captivating matinÃ©e for the entire family. For those whose nostalgic feelings have to do with place rather than with time, The Master Quartet and vocalists offered a selection of Russian folk songs.
But it was Georgian composer/pianist/conductor Vakhtang Kakhidze who stole the show. In the evening, which featured his four pieces, tall and impressive Kakhidze, who is one of his country's major composers and the artistic director of Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra, conquered the audience from the first sounds of music. One immediately grasped that it was all for real - the music, the conducting, the emotion.
Following the beautiful movements of Kakhidze's huge hands, the orchestra opened the evening with the elegiac In Memoriam, dedicated to the composer's grandfather, who was an amateur musician.
In various pieces, principle musicians from the orchestra - cellist Gregory Yanovsky, violinist Vladimir Reider and violist Arie Bar Droma - performed solo parts, while open-minded Kakhidze, who never hesitates to include vocal or jazz elements into his compositions, sang and passionately played piano. And so did his daughter Anuka, whose pure voice brought melodies of Georgia to the Red Sea.
The second part of the Classicameri Festival, which now spans two weekends, will take from February 4 through 7.