|A retreat for the well-being of my mind from the insanity of the life that is mine.|
Saturday, June 19, 2004 0 comments
Mood: Feelin' fine
Currently listening to: Something Tells Me - Monica Mancini
Went for the French Arts Festival's presentation of Duo Astor tonight at the Malaysian National Art Gallery, courtesy of the free pass granted to me by the Alliance Francaise. Thanks guys! ;)
If you can't tell from the photo, this performance basically consisted of one of the most talented guitar duos in the current contemporary world (and just how many guitar duos have you heard recently? ;p) and consists of Gaelle 'my fingers are crazy and i like to headbang while i play' Chiche and Francisco 'i no talent in English' Bernier. Funny behavioural descriptions aside, these two have individually won a whole swag of prizes in the course of their individual carreers while achieving considerable fame as a guitar duo.
Ok, first things first - if you thought i was a complete amateur when it came to deciphering the performance of orchestras, then you shouldn't be surprised that the realm of classical guitars is that of a complete and abject mystery to me. Well, aside from 'contemperory rock' anyway (go The Darkness! Catsuits forever!!!). But what the hey, i'm willing to listen and attempt to see the appreciation in it! :)
Here was their programme for the night:
Fernando Sor - Fantasie Op.54 Bis (Dans le style Espagnol)
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco - Prelude et Fugue en Mi Majeur
Joaquin Turina - Cinq Danses Gitanes Op.55:
2. Danza De La Seduccion
3. Danza Ritual
Antonio Vivaldi - Concerto en Re Majeur
Pierre Petit - Toccata
Manuel De Falla - Danza Del Molinero (Danse Du Meunier)
- Romance Del Pescador (Recit Du Pecheur)
- La Danza Espagnola (La Vida Breve)
The classical music lovers out there might recognise a few familiar titles in that list, and they wouldn't be wrong to think so. The vast majority of songs in the list were adapted by these artists in order to accomodate their duo guitar style as most of the songs were either written for solo guitars, or as part of an orchestral piece (such as Vivaldi's - Concerto en Re Majeur is supposed to have a mandolin in it). Oh and Prelude et Fugue en Mi Majeur is actually based on the Bach piece of the same name (i think).
As you might have guessed the whole thing had a Spanish bend to it, which caused me to at times imagine such melodies as not being out of place in ye olde Spain, or Mexico for that matter. Come to think of it, some sombreros would have added to the mood! ;)
And yes, some amazing physical finger dexterity was required in many of the pieces along with visually nifty hand tricks which were needed to tease out certain sounds from their instruments. I just wish that classical guitarists were a bit more showy, as my hopes at seeing them play the guitar with their teeth - a la Jimi Hendrix - was, alas, not to be. Damn.
Still, there was plenty of variety to be had tonight from the gypsy guitar music of the Cinq Danses Gitanes (the Danza Ritual was incredibly fast!), to the recognisable classical influences of Concerto en Re Majeur to the unbelievably eclectic Toccata with an insanely varying pace, pitch and melody that drew upon everything (including blues!) and which, at times, sounded like a mindless cacophany. Just like my mind. I like it! ;)
The final pieces from Manuel De Falla at the end were by far the most memorable in my opinion with the very recognisable and famous La Danza Espagnola and the slow, touching Romance Del Pescador (by far the best piece of the whole night *wistful sigh*). Good stuff! An experience that has inspired me to redouble my efforts in stealing Selina's guitar... ;p
A few observations:
- Playing a guitar in a duo seems to be good exercise as there was a lot of rhythmic body movement by both guitarists throughout. That, and they look at each other a lot when they play - is it for timing or something more? ;)
- 'Romance' in Spanish seems to mean 'Story'. Therefore, "every story in Spanish is a 'Romance'". Isn't that beautiful? :)
I quite enjoyed myself at this one, although i think my reviewing skills still suck.
Meh. I'll get better eventually...
Four out of five smileys!
Name: Patrick Pincon
Studied at: Monash
Work: Business Development
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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