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Sir Roger at the chamber music festival in Pernegg

© Sir Roger Moore Official Website - June 2009

Nestling on a plateau surrounded with a forest of green trees, the monastery chapel of Pernegg is a haven of peace between Rosenburg, its magnificent Renaissance castle and Geras, a real sanctuary of beauty and calm, perfectly conducive to artistic creation.

This small corner of Lower Austria near the Czech border is the theatre or rather the stage of the chamber music festival "Julian Rachlin Presents" that is so highly appreciated by chamber music lovers.  

The Renaissance castle of Rosenburg sits on a high cliff overlooking the Kamp River. It is the site of a nicely-furbished museum, as well as an exhibit of splendid period furnishings.

For three days, Pernegg lives to the rhythm of Julian Rachlin's violin and his virtuoso friends: Itamar Golan, Boris Andrianov, Aleksey Igudesman, Janine Jansen and young Alexandra Soumm. The festival, now in its fourth edition, once again welcomed Sir Roger Moore and his close friend Julian Rachlin. The two men forged a solid friendship a few years ago in Monaco and met at festivals around the world where Sir Roger displays his exceptional skill as a narrator.

In March this year, he joined Julian Rachlin at the fourth chamber music festival in Eilat, Israel, where he recited a text entitled "Carnival of The Animals" by Camille Saint-Saëns. Sir Roger donated UNICEF the $5,000 he was paid for the performance. The donation will support a program to combat AIDS in Swaziland.

Opening of the exhibition in Pernegg

Hours before the festival on Sunday June 7th, people hustled to the opening of a unique exhibition of Gugging artists. Thanks to collector Hannah Rieger and the Foundation GlobArt, works by Laila Vachtiar, Johann Fisher, Johann Hauser, Franz Kamland, Franz Kernbeis, Fritz Koller, as well as pieces by Johann Korec, Arnold Schmidt, Oswald and August Walla Tschirtner were exhibited together.

Applause resounded in the monastery to works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Shostakovich performed by pianist Itamar Golan, violinist Julian Rachlin and cellist Boris Andrianov.

The artists accompanied by Sir Roger Moore, his wife Lady Kristina and her daughter Christina, were chauffered to Geras for a gala dinner in aid of UNICEF. The guests enjoyed a huge mouth-watering buffet in the dining room of the Kunst & Kultur Seminar Hotel, a former granary that has been tastefully renovated.

Sir Roger and Lady Kristina enjoying the UNICEF gala dinner at the Kunst & Kultur Seminar Hotel in Geras

The complicity between Sir Roger and Julian Rachlin was obvious. It was a meeting of two multi-talented artists, guided by the same impulses of generosity, both for their respective public and in support of UNICEF. We witnessed a symbol of a possible transfer of power when Sir Roger removed his pin as Ambassador to UNICEF and gave it to his friend, thereby officially nominating him for his succession.

Sir Roger and Julian Rachlin at the UNICEF gala dinner in Geras

After the meal, an autographed photo by Roger Moore and Tony Curtis and a magnum of wine were auctioned. The famous theme tune of John Barry resonates in our minds. The auction too was in support of UNICEF. Children walked around the guests to raise funds, collecting them on a large glass vase. Quite a nice sum of 6,475EUR was collected that evening.

The next day, the festivities moved to the restaurant opposite Rosenburg castle. Sir Roger Moore and Julian Rachlin, side by side, gave an interview to Ursula Magnes, a journalist who specializes in classical music.

At the end of the interview, Sir Roger happily took part in a short session, signing his autobiography.

The second evening of the festival saw a new choice performance by Boris Andrianov playing a suite for cello by Ernst Krenek. As for Julian Rachlin and Itamar Golan, they offered us a sonata for violin and piano op. 78 by Brahms.

The climax of the festival saw the duo, Janine Jansen and Itamar Golan performing for us the Italian Suite for violin and piano by Stravinsky followed by a quintet for piano, two violins and a cello by César Franck. After the pause, it was Sir Roger's turn on the stage for moments of emotion ... and of course, humour.

Seated and facing the audience, he recited short poems by facetious Aleksey Igudesman, interspersed with music from the world. The Curacacha, Tango Sin Nombre, My Bonnie flies over the Ocean, Danny Boy, Irish Strew in the Morning, Tucuman Y Callao, Richard Will not Like It! In The Woods accompanied funny stories (Cats and Pigs, My Love for You is Like a three day flu, My brain has just Exploded) or more profound ones (Your Soul, On My Way). Sir Roger's intonation and facial expressions delighted a captivated audience.

The finalé was bound to be special; and so it was! Aspiring young violinists entered the stage, led by their teacher under the benevolent gaze of their elders. There was a mixture of joy and excitement to see and hear several generations of talented musicians on the same stage.

All the performances of the evening as well as the two prior ones greatly deserved the bursts of applause and the long standing ovation.

From left to right : Janine Jansen, Alexandra Soumm, the young violonists, Alexey Igudesman, Julian Rachlin and Sir Roger Moore

Thank you to everyone at GlobArt who made this festival an unforgettable event. For more information, please visit Julian Rachlin Presents.


Report : Marie-France Vienne (Sir Roger Moore Official Website)

Photos © Philippe Heidet



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