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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

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Lautten Compagney Berlin: Longing for Hawaii

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The South Seas: sun, sea and beaches lined with palm trees! This postcard idyll doesn’t immediately make you think of baroque music – but that’s exactly where the Lautten Compagney takes you to the “Theater im Delphi” in Pankow. In the informal atmosphere of the former cinema, the musicians, who are otherwise regarded as specialists in early music, provide entertaining and amusing entertainment, supplemented by saxophone and percussion.

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The program of the concert is as colorful as the bright Hawaiian shirts of the performers and is nevertheless characterized by European longings: “Reif für die Insel” by the singer-songwriter Peter Cornelius and the evergreen “La Paloma” are represented as well as the “South Sea Ballad”. from John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera of 1728.

Pink Panther meets Henry Purcell

The cellist Bo Wiget, who is also moderating the evening, skilfully alienates hits like “Boy, come soon again” in his arrangements with quotations from Handel’s “Water Music”. The transparent sound ideal of early music harmonizes surprisingly well with modern sound. The jig from Henry Purcell’s “Abdelazer” from 1695 becomes the rhythmic foundation for the nine musicians, over which various instruments, such as the saxophone, improvise on Mancini’s “Pink Panther” theme.

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The fact that the South Seas will soon disappear from geographical view does not dampen the enthusiasm of the audience on Tuesday. The tenor Mirko Ludwig moves effortlessly between the musical styles with a slim voice. He likes Annette Humpe’s Monotony in the South Seas as well as Purcell’s tender One Charming Night.

As far as the advertised transculturality is concerned, the evening falls short of its potential. The previously announced ukuleles and conch shells are only used as a gag. Here, shell horns, so-called conchs, as brass bands, play Protestant hymns to this day in Oceania. There would have been interesting possibilities for arrangements here, as well as for the ukulele, which was developed in Hawaii around 1880.

The evening therefore only partly lives up to the claim of playing with the cliché of happy islanders in the South Seas. Despite all the entertainment, some historical information would have been helpful in the moderation. This often gives the impression that clichés are celebrated rather than questioned

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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