Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Very late blog on this........

So, memories....
The last time I went to the 100 Club on Oxford Street, London, was to introduce my violin teacher to Nicola Benedetti. Yes, she is pretty, yes, she won Young Musician of the Year. I'm not sure what my tutor expected, I've been a fan for a while, seeing her in large and small venues.
Verdict was a definite positive response. In fact, the whole evening was great, Nicola played a whole french programme, wonderfully played and well received by all.

Her support was someone I'd never heard of before; the Sabina Rakcheyeva Ensemble. A blend of jazz and Azerbaijani music I'd never experienced before, but enjoyed a lot.

So, to the November concert by Natalie Clein at the 100 Club.

Natalie played Bach's Prelude in G. A lovely piece which reminded me of her because I heard Schiff's version on the radio, searched for a version, found Schiff's perfect version, and then was pointed in the direction of Natalie. Turns out she studied under Schiff, and it was clear from her own interpretation of the Bach. Then I discovered her recording of Elgar's Cello Concerto.

Natalie and Kodaly. I was never sure about this, having heard very little of the music of Kodaly at all. But what a great introduction. I sat between a cellist (obviously interested in technique etc) a violinist (my tutor) and someone who had never seen classical music performed live. Ever.

I loved the expression that Natalie always puts into her playing, nothing is ever held back, you get 100% every time. I'd read something of the piece, some things were mentioned by Natalie about the sounds of different instruments which pervade the piece. Knowing that Kodaly was a musicologist and incorporated these ideas into his music is one thing, but can they be heard in a solo cello piece? Yes. After hearing the piece played at the 100 Club, you really could hear the drums and zithers. There was a real feeling of the spirit of Hungary in the solo piece, surprisingly you really can hear the rest of the ensemble which isn't present, thanks to Kodaly's writing.

I could, and probably will do later, gush about Natalie's playing. However, I also want to mention the other act who appeared that evening, who shouldn't be ignored. The Sabina Rakcheyeva Ensemble were an interesting mix of people, I suggest you visit their website and listen to the music. http://www.sabinarakcheyeva.com/2010/05/28/sabina-rakcheyeva-ensemble/

There were a number of different elements to the music, Bach's Toccata and Fugue (slowly)mixed with Azerbaijani music, and very well done. Some jazz improvisations were played, but I can't comment, I don't really enjoy or understand jazz, so I won't say anything one way or the other.

Where I thought Sabina and her ensemble stood out, was playing traditional Azerbaijani music, and variations that she and her ensemble had arranged. Four of us came to see Natalie Clein, three musicians, and a confirmed non-musician. We all enjoyed different part of the evening for different reasons. That's the great thing about the Limelight series and the 100 Club in general; pushing the boundaries and making music more accessible.

Oh, and the audience loved Sabina's rendition of (I think) Sari Gelin, as half the audience had come to see Sabina. I'll be looking up some of that music :)

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Tomorrow (Weds 29th, 2010) is another evening of music at The Castle. Hopefully Ville and Laura will be there, not to mention the musicians from last week. I like the fact that it's very relaxed, nobody really has to try to be the next big thing, most of the folks there play because they love the music (special mention to Des).

And of course, I'll be playing with the most talented singer in London JC Ryan, always a pleasure.

Come along on Weds, Fri or Sat and enjoy the ambience that is The Castle and its musical friends.

Nice food too ;)

Friday, 24 September 2010

Beer and Bach review

On Thursday night I attended the inaugural event, for adults, by the cactus music school, entitled Beer and Bach. It could have been a dry music lesson, possibly a Channel 4 type fluff piece or even a dull monologue as per my old school music teacher.

Thankfully, I already knew all the ladies of the cactus music school, so I had high hopes of an entertaining evening, and wasn't disappointed.

The program was an introduction to music before Bach, beginning with prehistory, anecdotes about Alexander the Great, bagpipes, Oistrakh and ending with a demonstration on how, especially within film music, our emotions can be manipulated by music.

Technical aspects of music were demonstrated, favourite musicians discussed, modern music education and questions from the audience answered. All in all, a very enjoyable evening was had by all, in the lovely surroundings of The Academy (a hidden gem) in the Holland Park area.

Don't be mislead. This wasn't an event for only music-lovers or west-end culture vultures, it was more like one of the Christmas Lectures form the Royal Institution, well written, well presented and hugely enjoyable. Make sure you have the next date (October 21st) in your diary.
Thanks to Mina, Hannah and Lucy for a great evening. And great to meet so many interesting audience members afterwards.

It's been a while. Now here's some music...

For the last few weeks I've been playing guitar for the enormously talented Jo Ryan, at The Castle on Portobello Road in London. Lovely place, with interesting people and great musicians.

Whilst there, I met Anthony Andrews, very talented and a very tall man indeed! :) Renny Field has some mad skillz, playing and songwriting, check him out next Wednestday. Oh, and we've also had El Trio the last couple of weeks. Can't find a link, but worth a look.

To be honest, everyone has a great time at The Castle, friendly bar-staff, relaxed evening, good music, great food. What more incentive do you need?

See you soon.