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Edinburgh Fringe 2021

Low Down

Engaging, enervating, exciting, extraordinary concert from a highly accomplished cellist


Viennese virtuoso cellist Peter Hudler takes the listener beyond a traditional classical concert. In his nearly one-hour performance, Hudler crosses styles and genres, from Baroque to pop music, from folk tunes to new Classical compositions, all with ease and aplomb. For those thinking that the cello is best played in a symphony or string quartet, think again.  Hudler illustrates that this versatile instrument can be strummed like a guitar, plucked in all registers, played as a percussion tool, and accompany a vocal line.

The repertoire encompasses many cultures and eras.  We hear Jimi Hendrix as never before presented on the cello, then the soulful “Xanthous” by contemporary Swedish composer Svante Henryson.  “Black Run” by the same composer is what Hudler calls a race but is, in fact, a brilliant display of technical wizardry on cello.  Hudler’s mastery of Baroque style is not only very expressive but illustrates a command of the various voices in the piece.

“Pianissimo” by Vask left me breathless as the complex piece finished with a very subtle high fingerboard work that disappeared into nothing.  And that was followed by Hudler playing the bass as a guitar! “Syrinx” by Debussy, usually played on flute, is beautifully performed, complete with Hudler explaining the story of the legend of the composition. In his final piece, the passionate Sollima’s “Fandango”, Hudler says that he is setting the cello on fire with the frenetic playing, hence the name of the show. You just want to jump out of your seat with raucous applause when it finishes.

A very gifted player, Hudler uses many techniques, including whistling and singing with the pieces. He is innovative as he presents new vision of an old instrument. Not what we expect to hear from a cellist! The 52 minute-show is well-paced and never drags because of the wide variety of pieces from many centuries and the diversity of approaches to the music. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys music, especially for music students. There are lessons to be learned from Hudler’s ideas.