This was the first time I visited Kings Place and it truly lived up to its reputation. It was fabulous!

Because we arrived half an hour early I got to sit down and enjoy the view of the canal outside and the sculptures inside. As we went down the escalators to arrive at Hall One where the concert was being held we passed the gallery floor. The paintings on that floor foreshadowed what was to come. They were vibrant and full of colour.

As we entered Hall One, we could hear chatting that seemed to echo throughout the room. It was a friendly atmosphere and everyone in the audience seemed to know each other. The hall wasn’t particularly big but this turned out to be a good thing because it meant the sound was clearer and we could see what was happening on stage. There were blue and purple lights on stage shining brightly on the stands for the string instruments and the piano. The ‘Steinway & sons’ piano on stage was stunning. All the chairs on stage were facing the piano; this made it seem almost godlike and showed that it was the main focus of the night even though it wasn’t there throughout the concert.

As the lights died down so did the noise coming from the audience. The lights on stage however became brighter. Then a door that leads from back stage to the main stage opened and an elderly man stepped out to introduce the ‘Russian virtuosi of Europe’.

The string family came on in size order or from highest pitched to the lowest. First violin came first, it included four members one of which was the director and the soloist. Then the four members of the second violin came in followed by the three viola players, two cellos and last but not least the double bass player. All the players came from Russia. They are known to be ‘the finest string players from Russia ‘and now I know why. They had all the right qualities to create a brilliant ensemble. They were strictly on time with each other. They looked up to each other at some points; this was probably to make sure everyone was playing correctly. It was only played by strings and I saw as they played they would nod their heads; this might have been to give a more interesting performance. This is a list of what they played: · Divertimento in D, K136 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart · Concerto in D minor for violin, piano and string, Op. posth. By Felix Mendelssohn After a twenty minute interval, where we got to gaze at the wonderful view of the building and sculptures they played: · Adagio, arr. From string Quintet in F major by Anton Bruckner · Divertimento for strings by Bela Bartok

And at the end they even played an encore. Each piece gave a different mood, set a different atmosphere. They started off quick, lively, humorous and cheerful. One piece sounded like it came out of a horror movie. The music was very nice. It sounded like it was telling a story. Some times it was cheerful and full of life at other parts it was depressing. It was amazing to see how connected with the music the players were especially the main violinist Yuri Zhislin, I could even see tears in his eyes. Even I had tears in my eyes listening and seeing how connected they were. However this didn’t have a bad effect on how they played. They made what must have taken years of practice seem effortless. At one point the string from a cello players bow broke however she didn’t get distracted and just pulled it off when she got the chance. This proves how concentrated they are. And whenever they finished a piece they stood up proudly and gave a bow. As I listened and watched I realised that every instrument no matter how big or small had a big impact on the outcome of the overall sound.

The piano was nearly always full of sound, this made it almost enchanting. It was interesting when it was echoing the violinist. I also realised that even when the piano was playing a simple quiet melody on its own it caused the audience to listen more carefully to appreciate its wonderful sound. There was also a massive affect on the audience when they played loudly; at points it sounded like more that one pianist was playing. To conclude it was not only a wonderful night but it was educating and relaxing and I would most certainly like to see them again. The evening seemed to fly by.

Aurora Nishevci, aged 14

Russian Virtuosi of Europe with Ashley Wass Divertimento in D, K136 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Concerto in D minor for violin, piano and string, Op. posth. By Felix Mendelssohn Adagio, arr. From string Quintet in F major by Anton Bruckner Divertimento for strings by Bela Bartok Kings Place Sunday 17th April 2011