Had the pleasure of attending a concert in Prague with the Czech Philharmonic this week. The performance consisted of three set pieces of which two featured the cello virtuoso Alexander Knjazev (conductor: Stephane Deneve) and finished with two encore’s.

The main program started with a rather “modern” suite from the ballet ‘The Love for Three Oranges’ by Prokofiev. Then we were savaged by a Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 in E flat major… it was flat and major indeed.

I would be remiss not to be thankful for the culture. And I certainly was impressed by the fingers of Mr Knjazev — Shostakovich is frequently excessive in its difficulty. It was all the more impressive in that he played the entire performance by heart. And Mr Knjazev also allowed his personality to show through with the occasional smirk or funny glances. However, I could not stomach it. It just seemed so pretentious. In short, it was a performance for experts. Not much room to invite in “amateur” musical lovers.

On the lighter side, both Mr Deneve and Mr Knjazev clearly share the same hairdresser.

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