Concert at St. Christopher’s

Posted on February 10, 2013

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On the 7th of February I went together with my daughter to a concert at the local St Christopher’s Hospice. They organize excellent concerts for a small auditorium on the first Thursday on each month. The programme comprises a variety of classical music (which is the mainstream of the concert series), free style instrumental jazz, folk, up to Blues Brother’s impersonations. The concert room is rather small, allowing an intimate closeness to the musicians; it is fascinating to hear the sound of the instruments from such a close proximity.

The programme was delivered by a trio comprised of violinist Emma Blanco, guitar player Ahmed Dickinson and percussionist Hammadi Rencurrell. The two latter musicians are original from Havana and the repertoire included mainly Spanish and Cuban pieces, making it impossible for many in the audience to sit still in their seats. The programme was balanced and delivered in a way that allowed each musician to demonstrate their virtuosity.

After an elegant introduction with Béla Bartók’s Romanian Dances (arranged for violin and guitar) they played a selection from the Suite Populaire Espagnole of the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla. Then Ahmed Dickinson changed his guitar to one tuned in a “very different way”, and performed three movements of Carlo Domeniconi’s best known composition Koyunbaba, inspired by his ancestor’s land in Southern Turkey. Dickinson’s performance was incredibly subtle and lyrical, transporting the audience to a land filled with wild beauty and mystery.

In continuation they played pieces from Astor Piazzola’s L’Histoire du Tango, giving us an insight into the growth of the genre from the bordel’s in Buenos Aires to become music of ballrooms and concert halls.

The concert included selection of authentic Cuban music composed by contemporary composer Eduardo Martin, a former tutor of Dickinson’s as well as a composition by Nico Rojas, an exponent of the ‘Feeling’ trend in Cuban music, a free-style improvisatory music based on traditional Cuban rhythmic and melodic elements. As a finish they played Bésame Mucho by Mexican composer Consuelo Velazquez, a tune that I heard many times before, without knowing its title or its composer.

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Posted in: Part 3