Music review: Cello on Fire, C too, St Columba's by the Castle

It may have seemed a less than inauspicious opening for maverick Viennese cellist Peter Hudler, when a string snapped during his first number. However, the affably unassuming, T-shirted figure hurried to the back, restrung, retuned and returned to a sympathetic round of applause.

Cello on Fire, C too, St Columba’s by the Castle (Venue 4) ****

A cellist whose repertoire ranges from Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing to gems of the Italian Baroque, mingled with sometimes challenging contemporary or folk-inspired material, is bound to make for an interesting recital.

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In contrast to the opening (and repeated) Hendrix piece, a loosely structured improvisation on bowed, plucked and slapped strings, with bluesy riffs and glissandi, Hudler gave us a beautifully warm-toned, Bach-like capriccio by the 18th-century Giovanni Dall’Abaco and a piece by the contemporary Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks, all spooky drones, slides and harmonics.

In the middle of it all, incongruous but beautifully wistful, was the 18th-century Scottish air Prince Charles’s Last View of Scotland, although the following Celtic Cello set tended to churn up its constituent jigs and reels.

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Hudler closed with two striking contemporary pieces. A klezmer-inspired film score by New Yorker John Zorn proved resonantly eloquent and lingering, then Giovanni Sollima’s Lamentatio had the cellist vocalising hauntingly along with his instrument.

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One cavil might be that even a basic printed programme could have helped us identify the lesser-known composers, whose names could be hard to catch in Hudler’s introductions. However, it was an intriguing programme in a fine acoustic space, and Hudler made the most of it.

• Until 27 August, 7:40pm