Zachary Spontak, the Concert Master, and Mikhail Shumov, the First Cellist
Zachary Spontak, the Concert Master, and Mikhail Shumov, the First Cellist

Mozart by candlelight

A special musical evening surrounded by ‘Amigos’

The Amigos de Música have been committed to bringing great music to the Algarve for over 30 years now. From time to time, there are special events to be enjoyed by our members as well as the international music-loving resident audience.

At the start of the festive season, Amigos and guests were invited to an evening with dinner at the Pinheiros Altos Golf Clubhouse on Sunday, November 27.

We called the evening “Mozart by Candlelight”. We had two of the leading local string soloists, both from the Orquestra Clássica do Sul – Zachary Spontak, the Concert Master, and Mikhail Shumov, the First Cellist – supplying the music.

The choice of their music programme was an inspired mix of works by Mozart, Beethoven and Glière, which they played in the lovely ambiance of the club’s spacious and elegant (and acoustically excellent) dining room.

The evening’s music programme
The evening’s music programme

The champagne reception for the festive crowd was followed by the first musical interlude of the evening – a movement of Beethoven’s String Duo in C major and, fittingly, “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” by Mozart, setting the mood for a most receptive audience.

‘Amiga’ Kristina Griffith, the overall organiser of this very special event, had imaginatively and in great style transformed the functional room with hundreds of candles into a world of Advent and approaching Yule Tide.

A well composed dinner menu offered a selection of very tasty starters and a duck or fish trilogy main course. The chef’s crème brûlée dessert capped the lovely meal and, of course, a fine selection of free-flowing wines was served throughout.

The ‘Amigos’ President Helga Hampton was introduced by Michael Savage, Treasurer of the Association. She not only expressed the combined thanks for the excellent hospitality by the Pinheiros Altos Golf Club, but also to the maître d’ Sr Paulo and his team for the superior service and attention enjoyed throughout the evening.

She informed the gathering of an additional ‘Amigos de Música’ activity, the Young Portuguese Music Student Scholarship, which, she noted, was very important to her personally and which the proceeds of the evening’s dinner would aid. In this scheme, needy Portuguese music students are financially and idealistically helped during their continuing studies within Europe. The programme has helped nine different young players.

The elegant dining room
The elegant dining room

Her thanks to the musicians, old friends of the Amigos de Música, were soon rewarded by the second musical interlude, which gave the appreciative crowd a Prelude and Gavotte by the Ukrainian Reinhold Glière and a Mozart Rondo and Allegro.

It was a great pleasure to notice how table talk and convivial chatting quieted as soon as the two musicians brought out their instruments – they certainly are very accomplished and captivating masters of music.

After playing their planned finale, a Mozart Adagio and a Beethoven Rondo, they were brought back by a most appreciative audience for two encores, including Massenet’s “Meditation”.

A great evening was enjoyed by all.

The next ‘Amigos’ concerts will be in their usual venue, Os Agostos country estate, near Santa Bárbara de Nexe, and will feature piano concerts with António Oliveira on Tuesday, December 13 and Thursday, December 15. Reservations, as usual, by email to reservasconcertos@gmail.com

Article submitted by Helga Hampton, president of Amigos de Música