Chambers of music

The Sixth Eilat Chamber Music Festival ended last week with a rare musical gem.

Pianist Paolo Giacometti 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Pianist Paolo Giacometti 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Sixth Eilat Chamber Music Festival ended last week with a rare musical gem. The acclaimed early music ensemble Gabrieli Consort and Players, conducted by Paul McCreesh, played Bach’s St. John Passion (marking the opening leg of their European tour), fulfilled expectations and then some.
Only a couple of hours earlier, the flamenco artist Maria Juncal brought the house down with her improvised performance. Juncal opened the performance reading a message in broken Hebrew, explaining how only a few hours before boarding their flight her own players decided it was too risky to come to Israel and she had to find other flamenco artists and rehearse on the flight, the bus and the entire day preceding the performance. The audience loved the stand-ins and rewarded them with a standing ovation.
But those were only the last two concerts. The festival as every year, offered local music-lovers the opportunity to enjoy world-class chamber-music concerts, master classes and workshops with an international line-up that included Pieter Wispelwey, Elisabeth von Magnus, Dejan Lazic, Paolo Giacometti, Alexander Ivashkin, Chloe Hanslip, Anthony Pay, Maxim Rysanov, Antony Pay and many others, all of whom are among the top musicians in the world today.
It is a pity that this festival, one of the best classical music festivals in Israel, is not more popular with the crowds. The concerts are played in a half-empty theater and even the taxi drivers in Eilat are unaware, 10 days into the event, that there is a festival happening in the city’s theater. I hope that next year the producers will find ways to lure the audiences to this wonderful festival, which marks the beginning of the spring festival season for music lovers.