Monday, 9 May 2011

A week of music.........

My week of music began on Friday the 6th with an impromptu piano recital by Stefano Orioli. The venue was the Italian Cultural Institute in Belgrave Square. The playing was very accomplished, as you would expect of a pianist of his experience. The recital was well balanced with works by classical composers Scarlatti and Clementi followed by romantic works by Debussy and Liszt.

Sunday was a little unexpected. I'd been invited to a concert at the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre. The event was 'Breaking Boundaries'. On the bill were Kosmos, Paprika and She'Koyokh. Kosmos opened the evening with a mixture of jazz, klezmer and tango, spiced up with gypsy and arabic melodies. Milos, the accordionist (one of the two) from Paprika joined for Piazzolla's 'Libertango' bringing a touch of familiarity to the evening, giving us a foretaste of what to expect for the rest of the evening.

Next up was Paprika, featuring the charismatic violinist Bogdan Vacarescu, joined by Meg Hamilton of Kosmos (cross-pollination is a feature of this evening), who regaled us with Serbian, Balkan, Romanian and gypsy folk songs and melodies. The use of two accordions in a call-and-response setting was inspired. It was at about this point that the audience became aware that they were in a seated venue, listening to what was, essentially, music for dancing. More on that later.

After the break came She'Koyokh. The theme of the evening reached its peak with this ensemble. Featuring one of the most versatile vocalists I've heard since Elizabeth Fraser, Cigdem Aslan sang bulgarian folk, managing to sound eerily like the Voix Bulgares, veering off around the Balkans on a melodic and linguistic ending up somewhere around the Black Sea. During the course of the evening, I lost count of the number of languages I heard her sing. The ensemble itself performed all this music and more. Stand-out performances from Susi Evans on clarinet (perhaps previously owned by Faust) and Matt Bacon on guitar. Not to forget Paul on the accordion who had us all singin the yiddish chorus to 'die Philosope'. The finale was a klezmer super-group. All the members of the previous groups joined She'Koyokh onstage for a melange which featured the individual mixes of all the bands. The result was an irresistable urge to dance. I resisted, most didn't. Clapping to the klezmer, dancing to folk melodies from around the balkans and the middle-east, rapt silence as Susi on clarinet duelled with the guitarists, pulling off a win using circular-breathing and a healthy dash of chutzpah!
All these bands are highly recommended, unless you have something against having fun.

My week continues on Wednesday 11th, with the second of the Rosenblatt Recitals series, this one featuring Serena Malfi, once again at St John's, Smith Square.
And if you are dithering, wondering if you should come on Wednesday or not, here's your invitation!

Following that, on Friday 13th, is my friend Jo Ryan at the 100 Club.

Blog reviews following both of these concerts.

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