The Ex-Romberg

I’ve been particularly lucky this year to have experienced some remarkable live performances. First there was the incredible dance collaborations/explorations featuring Troika Ranch and Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, then Efterklang, about whom I cannot say enough good things, and most recently the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

My trip to the CSO should have been pleasant enough, with a mix of Haydn, Faure and Mozart.  But prior to the performance by Pavel Gomziakov, in his U.S. debut, of Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major, Trevor Pinnock, the conductor for the evening, announced that the cellist would be playing the prized "ex-Romberg" cello (made by David Tecchler in 1703) once played by Jacqueline DuPre and Lynn Harrell, on loan from Chicago's Stradivari Society.

This was the first time that I had thought to pay any attention to the instrument itself.  It was as if the cello was an additional performer. Mr Gomziakov had only had a few days to become acquainted with it and I think we were all nervous and agog to see how they would get along.  Would they suit each others’ personalities, would they fight, would it all end in tears?

In the end they were fantastic together.  We all rose to give them a thunderous ovation.  The little old lady sitting next to me said breathlessly “he made love to the cello” and I have to say that if that’s how her husband has been treating her over the years then she’s probably a very happy woman.  I couldn’t help but shout “hurrah”, which she misheard for “Yo Yo Ma”, leading to a slightly confusing exchange.

In the days that followed I tried to find out more about the cello online but with little success.  I think I probably hit one of the limits of the internet’s current usefulness. Still, if you ever hear more about it, please let me know.  And if you have the opportunity to see/hear Gomziakov play, take it.