REVIEW: The Budapest Café Orchestra deliver an ‘amazing evening’ at St. Peter and St. Paul’s Chruch, Chatteris

Chris Garrick

Chris Garrick - Credit: Archant

There is a very good reason why Chatteris Music Society is becoming more and more successful: it is providing fantastic concerts.

Adrian Zolotuhin and Eddie Hession

Adrian Zolotuhin and Eddie Hession - Credit: Archant

The Budapest Café Orchestra that performed on Saturday was amazing. It is like no other group I have ever heard.

Imagine trying to play Grieg’s Piano Concerto with a violin, a guitar, a piano, accordion and a double bass – impossible, you would imagine. However, armed with these interesting instruments, these highly talented musicians managed it with phenomenal flair, albeit performing their own unique arrangement.

Their virtuosic skill, hilarious sense of humour and undoubted sensitivity and rhythmic genius kept the packed audience spellbound.

The ‘orchestra’ consists of Chris Garrick (playing violin and doumbek: a type of drum), Kelly Cantlon (double bass), Adrian Zolotuhin (saz, guitar and balalaika) and Eddie Hession (button accordion).

The leader, Chris Garrick, inspired this group of eccentric UK dwellers parading as mysterious Hungarian- come-Russian characters to play with tremendous agility, feeling and expert timing, infusing their arrangements with mischievousness that had the audience laughing out loud. While wondering if strains of Brahm’s Hungarian pieces were being infiltrated into their vivacious arrangements of known folk music, we would be suddenly met with oh-so-familiar themes from the likes of James Bond, the Archers, the Teddy Bear’s Picnic, The Onedin Line, Captain Pugwash, Born Free, Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’, ‘Poldark’ or ‘Apache’. Nothing was sacrosanct. Only performers of such astounding ability as these musicians can get away with such outrageous fun so successfully.

Kelly Cantlon

Kelly Cantlon - Credit: Archant

Highlights for me were their version of the Greek ‘Misirlou’ with Adrian Zolotuhin on a Turkish stringed instrument: the saz, the almost unbelievable antics in ‘Grieg’s Squeezebox Concerto’, the melancholy of the Scottish folk-song ‘The Boatman’ and Mahler’s ‘Adagietto’.

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Although they find it hard to believe that after hearing their fantastic vivacious breakneck arrangements anyone would really enjoy something slow and haunting, I did. The most moving piece for me was Mahler’s ‘Adagietto’ a slow, haunting and very moving testament to the composer.

This was an amazing evening: a fitting tribute to Roger Heading a previous chairman of Chatteris Music Society.

The next Chatteris Music Society concert will be on Saturday March 11th featuring The Falcon Ensemble playing Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto and Mendelssohn’s ‘Italian Symphony’.

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