Updated: Saturday, 22nd February 2020 @ 5:50am

Rare 300-year-old cello to ring in Manchester Camerata's first concert at RNCM hall

Rare 300-year-old cello to ring in Manchester Camerata's first concert at RNCM hall

| By Lewis Chapman-Barker

An incredibly rare, 300-year-old cello is being loaned to a Manchester orchestra to celebrate their first performance at the newly refurbished Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) Concert Hall.

Principle Cellist for the Manchester Camerata, Hannah Roberts, will use the cello to perform a solo in Elgar's Cello Concerto.

This priceless piece of musical history is on loan to the Camerata from J & A Beare’s, one of the world’s most respected violin dealers.

Hannah said: “We are very, very grateful to Simon Morris from J & A Beare’s in London for loaning us this fantastic instrument.”


A REAL CHARACTER: Hannah said each Stradivari instrument is like a person with individual traits and sounds

The cello, which dates back to 1696, was crafted by the iconic Antonio Stradivari.

She added: “I am very fortunate because in fact Simon had lent me the same type of instrument for our end of season concert in May, which was with the Beethoven Triple Concerto.

“On that occasion it was actually a pair of Stradivari instruments on stage, because my colleague Giovanni Guzzo, a violinist, was also playing on a Strad. So, that was also very special.”

Stradivari’s work is said to have been highly influential to other crafters of instruments, such as Bernard Simon Fendt.

Director of J & A Beare Simon Morris said: “Having the opportunity to see one of Antonio Stradivari's cellos 'in the flesh' would undoubtedly have an influence on Fendt – indeed on any maker – and particularly at a time when photographs and other media were simply not available.”

Hannah expressed her and the entire Camerata’s appreciation to the firm, describing them as a ‘very special company’.

She said: “It is a very moving experience even to touch one of these [Stradivarius] instruments because of the whole legacy that goes with it.

“The fact that, in an age when we can improve on so many things technologically and scientifically, he is still held up as being the absolute master maker of string instruments.

“It feels very much an honour to be in the presence of an instrument like that.

“From the Stradivariuses that I have been privileged either to play or to hear, they all have their own individual voice, very much.

“I think that’s something very special, that each one of these instruments is almost like a person in their whole character and range of sound and response.”

The performance will take place in the newly refurbished RNCM concert hall.

Work on the hall began in January 2014 with the aim of guaranteeing a high quality performance area, and to provide a professional learning environment for the RNCM’s students.

Speaking about the refurbishment, Hannah told MM: “The reports about the acoustics are really very good.

“I’ve actually been to a concert there myself since it has been refurbished, and it’s a fabulous venue in every way.

“The lighting facilities, the new seating, all of those things are really excellent for the audience, so I’m very excited about it.”


FABULOUS VENUE: Hannah said the new venue's acoustics seating and lighting are 'excellent for the audience'

RNCM Principal Professor Linda Merrick said on their website: “The RNCM prides itself on offering the very best facilities, not only to aspiring young musicians from all over the world, but also to audiences who recognise the significant position the College holds as one of the UK’s busiest and most diverse public performance venues.”

The concert takes place on Wednesday February 11, and will be conducted by Gábor Takács-Nagy.

Tickets start at £11, and can be purchased directly from the RNCM either in person at the box office, by phone on 0161 907 5555, or online at www.RNCM.ac.uk