Sunday, September 03, 2017

Accordions, Camden, Sunday

A chance meeting with Anja McCloskey at Katy Carr's on Tuesday led to an invitation to this very unusual concert at the newly-refurbished Diorama in Camden today.
Anja plays in an accordion orchestra, the London Accordion Orchestra, and this afternoon's concert also featured the Akkordeon-Landesjugendorchester Baden-Wurttenburg, who you may have guessed, are from Germany.
The sound of the two groups was really different; the Londoners sounded lyrical, and their arrangement of the Venus movement of Holst's Planets was exquisite. Delicate traces of sound fluttered between the players like lacy birds, and you could see that the players knew they were making beautiful music; they floated along on their sea of sound. Their final piece was written in four days by the director, Ian Watson, after the original composer was offered a Hollywood score and pulled out. They were joined by Eliza Marshall on flute. It was also a lovely piece of music.
After the interval, the young German players took their seats. This is their first visit to the UK although they have been to many other places in the world and by rights they should have been tired, after travelling from Ireland in a bus. But they were strong players, and their conductor, Fabian Dobler, was full of energy. They started with a Frtiz Dobler composition, Ballade. Dobler wrote especially for accordion, and I enjoyed this. However, the most exhilarating pieces were those by Astor Piazolla, which hit an emotional spot that almost brought me to tears. I started to think about awful Brexit, and how we might close our stupid little island off from all the wonderful culture, people, and even food that being part of Europe has brought us.
As soon as Douglas Yates, the all partially-sighted baritone who sings with them, got up to sing, everything felt better. He was humorous and it was intriguing to hear a classical Texan voice after meeting Chuck and Libby last week. He sang Britten's folk songs, and finished the afternoon off with a rousing version of Joshua by Mark Hayes, a song that I used to sing at school.
It was a really uplifting afternoon- what an unusual sound, and what great musicians, both the Londoners and the Baden-Wurttenburgers! Music can make you feel just great sometimes.
Who cares about the rain on the way home? Not me!
(it was lovely to see you Jacob)

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