REVIEW: Youngsters get a fun introduction to music from Ensemble Reza

Ensemble Reza, Family Concert, Holy Trinity Church, Cuckfield, March 9

Kids and parents filled Holy Trinity Church on Sunday for a special family concert from the virtuoso musicians of Ensemble Reza.

The string ensemble, clearly passionate about sharing their love of music, created a lively and fun atmosphere, inviting children to sing, clap and dance along to an entertaining selection of pieces.

It was an informal show, providing the perfect introduction to a range of classical works in a relaxed and child-friendly environment.

These pieces included the first movement of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Spring from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and the Trepak from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. It wasn’t all classical, though. Film pieces, such as ‘Zorba The Greek’ by Theodorakis, kept the programme diverse and the energy levels high. Pianist Caroline Tyler also performed The Haunted House by Steven Isserlis, which included its amusing spoken word accompaniment.

The whole thing was held together well by the likeable Pavlos Carvalho, who talked to the youngsters in an enthusiastic and friendly way. He introduced each piece and explored the effects of each instrument, while guiding the audience through the techniques that featured in the music. Pavlos talked about sound effects, explained about the purpose of an ostinato and demonstrated what a canon is by getting the whole audience to sing parts of Frère Jacques and layer them over each other. This satisfying singing exercise led into a version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, which was beautifully performed by the ensemble.

Arguably, the show’s most memorable moment arrived when Pavlos invited several kids to conduct the ensemble, letting the youngsters experiment with making the music louder, softer, faster and slower. It was very funny to watch the little composers suddenly realise how much power they had been given over the music.

Hopefully, this concert succeeded in encouraging youngsters to pick up an instrument. After all, as Ensemble Reza made clear, there’s a huge world of music waiting to be explored.

So, it’s a good idea to start early.

By Lawrence Smith