What concert did you attend in 2018?

Police Dog Hogan, St George's Bristol.

They say 'we are a folk band', one review paraphrased says 'high energy, eclectic multi instrumentalists'.

An exceptional live band, recordings do not do justice to the rapport with an audience, musicians who have other jobs are one of the tightest bands/groups I have seen in years, timing, tuning is spot on. FUN but serious. Then they enjoy their music, it comes across without taking themselves seriously. I've written before that I have a problem with the 'P' in PRAT, feeling that ensemble (Chord in their cable literature call it coherence) is more important. This band have it all, in abundance, eight performers who feed off each other, giving their best.

Interesting was that a number of songs were performed around a simple stereo pair of mikes, each person moving forward or back as they took the lead. Superb simple sound that was most effective. Not to suggest that the fully miked, plugged in sound was not good. Despite being involved, clapping, singing along as required, I found it easy to listen along, picking out each performer and they part they had to play. Definitely gestalt happening in the room.

Don't let genre prejudice affect you, go and see them for a good night out.

Steven Wilson at the Sage, Gateshead last Sunday. First time seeing him live, and really enjoyed the evening. Animation on a screen behind the band added a lot to the evening, and the set was a good mix of current and older material. Was very impressed with the band as a whole.

Bach Mass in B minor, performed by the Gabrieli Consort and Players, conducted by Paul McCreesh at the Snape Maltings Concert Hall in Suffolk... a wonderful  and emotive performance with gorgeous interplay between the musicians and singers led by McCreesh enhanced by the wonderful acoustics of the Maltings concert hall... a fantastic evening



Wagner Siegfried Idyll
Bernstein Symphony No. 2 (The Age of Anxiety)
Schumann Symphony No. 1 (Spring)

His Schumann's Symphony no.1 was rhythmic and lively. Not was expressive as I would have liked but I enjoyed it. It's one of my favourite Schumann piece yet it does not get played often. Last time CSO played it was 18 years ago!

Siegfried Idyll sounded a bit monotonous. Felt 10 min. too long. It's a lovely piece but the same them over and over repeated, as if the composer ran out of idea. Nagano did not help.

CSO has been scheduling many Bernstein's work this year for his 100th Birthday. This was an intereseting piece and rare Lenny piece that did not sound like a show tune. Composed in the 40s but surprisingly still fresh. I think it held up pretty well. Intriguing and suspenseful yet it has a Copland like grand happy ending. Nagano's direction was rather work man like but perhaps it was ok for this piece. A young American pianist Gilles Vonsattel made a Chicago debut on this piece and I would like to see him come back and play more. CSO premiered it back in 1956 Lenny conducting and Byron Janis playing. Now that's I would have liked to hear!


Inside, Or Out?

Sometimes a gig is memorable - or just plain weird for reasons very little to do with the music played. Tarshish is a very large restaurant in Wood Green, North London. It's where the rich, flash young Turks (and others) of that community go on a Friday and Saturday nights: a place to eat, drink, be seen, show off and pull.

As well as the smell of (very good) Tirkish food, the place reeked of aftershave and perfume, and there were lots of shiny suits (the boys) and big bums in tight leather trousers or micro-skirts (girls).

Anyway, I mention this because Ese and her Vooduu People were playing there on Friday, 26th January (in the Mor Bar, a part of the restaurant that has huge floor to ceiling windows, offering a view over the streets below). The band did two good sets, with more covers than usual because of the venue/audience. The sound system there was excellent, although it is very odd trying to watch a band when you are surrounded by couples snogging or flirting...

Matthias Pintscher /CSO
Jean-Yves Thibaudet piano


Debussy, orch. Ravel Sarabande and Dance
Ravel Piano Concerto for the Left Hand
Ravel Daphnis and Chloe

It's been a well over 10 years since I heard Thibaudet play the Concerto for the Left Hand. I remember being disappointed as It was not powerful  and he made too many misplaying.  The dense places just sounded muddy. So I was skeptical of this set but CSO sent out a half off ticket sale notice so I decided to give it a go at a last minute. Quite surprised they could not fill the house but I reckon due to Dutoit'a withdrawal from all the performances this season.

Well, this time around Thibaudet delivered highly precise energetic powerful performance. It was much clean with very little misplaying ( just two spots i could detect ) and from where I was sitting I could see his hand movement close up. Remarkable clarity and power. Perhaps arpeggios might not be fluid as Zimerman's ( who is! ) I enjoyed it very much this time.

Other orchestra program was more problematic. I am not familiar with this stand-in young conductor Matthias Pintscher. He did ok for the Piano Concerto but I find overall tonal balance of this set was too cold, hard and brittle! Missing that mysterious magical feel I get from the scores. ( including my favourite Sarabande ) It was a clean reading, all right but for me, it sounded just too academic lacking fine details to create the magic. Also he made hars and tambarines made too prominent and they made the score too cheap and garrish rather. Repeat of themes appears through out the score became too similar. I was bored half way through.

Finale, i reckon is mighty impressive with full chorus, but it sounded too forced for me. And overall phrasing too Hollywood like. I very much missed Boulez set or even Dutoit would have given more colours and flares. Pity they did not video tape Thibauet's Left Hand Concerto.

Have this evening another highlight of the season. Martha Argerich playing Liszt.....


Martha Argerich | Klavier

Kremerata Baltica

Lepo Sumera, „Symphone“
Mendelssohn, Oktett Es-Dur op. 20
(Fassung für Kammerorchester)
Chopin, Mazurka a-Moll op. 17/4 und Nocturne E-Dur op. 62/2
(Fassung für Kammerorchester von V. Kissine)
Liszt, Klavierkonzert Nr. 1 Es-Dur

Bert Schurink posted:

Have this evening another highlight of the season. Martha Argerich playing Liszt.....


Martha Argerich | Klavier

Kremerata Baltica

Lepo Sumera, „Symphone“
Mendelssohn, Oktett Es-Dur op. 20
(Fassung für Kammerorchester)
Chopin, Mazurka a-Moll op. 17/4 und Nocturne E-Dur op. 62/2
(Fassung für Kammerorchester von V. Kissine)
Liszt, Klavierkonzert Nr. 1 Es-Dur

It was a great concert, the only thing which was a bit odd was the first piece of the evening. The Kremerata Baltica was in great form and played a smooth a nice program with also beautiful arrangements....

The piano concerto was also very special. The setting with a small orchestra gives already a nice different perspective as the normal big orchestra setup. And Martha is still quite special, so it was a very nice concert overall. And I will still have another highlight in the concert season with Sokolov the week after next.


Marlon Williams at Scala London. Second time I have heard Marlon live. In great voice, and I do recommend his latest album Make Way for Love. My wife enjoyed the evening too. Played a variety of material from the album plus more. Dinner at Kimchee close to St Pancras International. So so on the food front....

Pizza Express Live!

29th January, and to Holborn in Central London. Pizza Express has a branch there with a music venue (Pizza Express Live!)  downstairs. The sound system is absolutely superb. Ese & The Voduu People played there on this Monday night to a sell-out crowd of fans and tourists. Despite the obvious advantages of the venue, it wasn't their greatest gig, with E's voice rather ragged after playing 13 dates in the preceding 16 days.

But if you are in the area and up for some live music, this is a great venue to catch jazz, soul, funk and more.

Accompanied Mrs Plane to Nashville On Tour last night at Leeds Arena. She's a big fan of the show. (I keep out of it.)

There were five individual artists and each did a couple of solo spots, plus various duos and trios.

It was pleasant enough and more rock than Yee-ha, which was all to the good. The outstanding bit was a chap called Jonathan Jackson performing a stunning version of Unchained Melody. Also impressed by the British member of the team, Sam Palladio. Decent singer and mult-instrumentalist too. The others were bit ho-hum for my taste.

No cliche left unturned and a fair slice of cheese but the crowd liked it.  A crowd that, incidentally, seemed to be 3 parts female to one part male.

Tokio Meier at Leeds Academy tomorrow...


Go to a live jazz concert nearly every month at my local jazz club in Sarisbury, been 3 time's this year. Various opera, musicals, pop, rock, orchestral and plays etc in and around Southampton, Last one was Vincent and Flavia at the Mayflower. Rich 



Walker Lyric for Strings
Copland Lincoln Portrait
Dvořák Symphony No. 9 (From the New World)

I called the box office a few months back, who would be narrating the Lincoln Portrait but they weren't sure. When I saw the program, to my delight! none other than Illinoian John Malcovich!

When he walked on the stage, it was a bit of a double take because he looked so much like Sviatoslav Richter! (  a bio-pic starring Malkovich would be mighty convincing )

On to the music! this was an all America night. It opened with a lovely Walker's Lyric for Strings. I've seen Muti conducts the piece with Philly. It was originally scored as a part of chamber music but full orchestra strings give a denser richer colours. Walker, an African American composer wrote this when he was at Curtis Institute in 1946. In the same veins as Barber's Adagio but much subtler in effect. A short piece but so sweet and poignant.

Malkovich/Muti/CSO Lincoln Portrait was terrific as well. His voice was not rich nor resonant as famous James Earl Jones set but  down to earth simplicity and sincerity, I find, is equally fitting for the score. It was powerful and moving listening experience.

The second half of concert was familiar Dvorak's Symphony 9. Quick dashing tempo and strong boned styling. I very much loved the way Muti handled the Largo avoiding saccharine sweet rendition. As Toscanini, I find Muti's *American* music performance very human. They seem to draw more American characters than many other conductors.

Chicago weather has been brutal this season and sure enough there were a lot of coughs between the movements ( Orchestra Hall turns into a TB ward :/  ) but at least noone coughed or cell phone rang during quiet movements.

Very much looking forward to this one this evening....


Grigory Sokolov | Klavierabend

Joseph Haydn: Sonate (Divertimento) Nr. 32 op. 53 Nr. 4 g-Moll Hob. XVI:44
Joseph Haydn: Sonate (Divertimento) Nr. 47 op. 14 Nr. 6 h-Moll Hob. XVI:32
Joseph Haydn: Sonate Nr. 49 op. 30 Nr. 2 cis- Moll Hob. XVI:36
Franz Schubert: 4 Impromptus op. 142 D.935

6 encores! At Pollini's annual Chicago visit yesterday, he delivered 3 encores.


Chopin Prelude in C-sharp Minor, Op. 45
Chopin Barcarolle in F-sharp Major, Op. 60
Chopin Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, Op. 35 (Funeral March)
Debussy Preludes, Book 2

La cathédrale engloutie from Preludes, Book 1
Chopin Etude in A Minor, Op. 25, No. 11
Chopin Berceuse in D-flat Major, Op. 57

This year he looked much better than the past few performances. Still looking much older than actual his age (76)  he did not struggle walking to the piano.

His very first piece Chopin's Prelude Op.45 was not quite together sounded rather disjointed with some awkward phrasing.

But as the program progressed he became more comfortable and showing his masterful styling. Particularly slower segments were rendered with  deep thoughts and insights. Also I noticed that this was the first time his Fabbrini Steinway did not sound clangy. I understood why he liked his piano. There was no excess *fat* just see through transparency and clarity of each note all the way down to the lowest keys. Possible that because, for the first time I was sitting on the main floor and closer to the piano so I could hear what Pollini was hearing out of his piano. At close up, even busy passages, I can make out melody lines and notes with *in-tune* bass. ( sort of like how a well done accoustic suspension speakers delivery low frequency notes )

Book 2 was wonderful in spite there were a few misplaying. I still prefer Horowitz's "Fairies are exquisite dancers" & Général Lavine but I appreciated monochromatic shades of grays and textures.

La Cathedrale Engloutie reminded me somewhat of Richter's set where sunny bright surreal blue sky backdrop and ice cold clear ocean. His Etude was effortless. Intense but remaining lyrical. And the final encore was my favourite Berceuse provoking memory from the past.

After the recital, I had an opportunity to get his autograph and shake his hand.

Natalie Prass - last night at Bush Hall, London.

The venue, which I’d not been to before, is small and cute with an upstairs open-air terrace bar. Worth seeing what’s on there from time to time as it’s an nice intimate place. Well suited to Natalie Prass, whose music - while she can rock in a southern boogie style when required - is gentle and has understated heart and soul. The single encore (much kudos for only playing one song as encore - who does that nowadays?) was apparently impromptu (she’d slated something else), a version of ‘Violently’ which was as vulnerable as it was touchingly beautiful.

New album out on 1st June.

Bert Schurink posted:

As always, Sokolov delivered. A great concert - amazingly fluid amazingly tonality.....and again 6 encores. He is definitely the man. Some pictures tomorrow.

Looking forward to the Schleswig-Holstein-Musikfestival, where he will perform the same program. He somehow knows how to make it easy for the audience to be totally absorbed by the music, a bit like a hypnotist.

  Eric Bibb - Migration Blues.

  Excellent gig last night at The Pocklington Arts Centre, a small, sold out, 200 seater intimate venue with Eric and his three piece band    

  in stonking form.

  Many old favourites played, together with several songs from the current album, "Migration Blues", and, afterwards, possibly as it was  

  a small venue, Eric and the band only too happy to chat with folks in the foyer.

  All in all, a great night out, and if you can get hold of tickets for any of the remaining gigs, (unlikely, as it seems to be sold out most  

  places), I urge you to do so  ..................... you're unlikely to be disappointed. 

  Oh, and the support act, a young chap by the name of Rob Green was hugely entertaining too, and is well worth checking out.


Busy 2 nights. Sunday we saw JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN at the RFH London. Joan Wasser’s voice was in fine form, and she played a selection of songs from her last album Damned Devotion. The gig lacked a bit of atmosphere, whilst Joan did her best to encourage dancing it was never going to happen at the RFH. We were in row J though so had a good view.

Then last night, perhaps the highlight of the two gigs, NATALIE PRASS at Bush Hall Shepherds Bush. Playing a selection of songs from her new album, plus from her debut. Now I am a big Natalie Prass fan, but last night was very special. Small venue, great sound, and the band were really tight. Can’t wait for 1st June when the album is out. If you have never heard her before, try her debut. Really well crafted southern soul sound, from the Spacebomb studios. Highly recommended.

I saw Nerina Pallot perform at the Wedgwood Rooms, Portsmouth yesterday evening.  Given the size of the venue and stage, she only had a drummer and bass-player in support, which meant that a number of her newer songs didn't have the full content of her studio recordings, or of that when I last saw her at Hoxton Hall.  But she seemed to turn this to an advantage, making the songs simpler and more intimate.  Indeed she played several familiar songs solo, either playing a guitar or electric piano. These songs, e.g. Mr King, were particularly lovely.  She seems to have adopted Sophia as her 'signature' encore song, and she knows her audience know the song and expect it so positively encourages the audience to sing this lovely song with her.  Nerina is one-hell-of-a talent.  

3 very good and diverse local,guitarists, playing in a cafe about 5 miles from home. James Dey is a lovely sensitive singer songwriter, John BIglanss writes complex compositions and tender songs about his family, Dan Day plays excellent guitar and tin whistle with Celtic themes.

There’s something lovely about this type of gig, the guys are yards away from you, and they really play and sing from the soul. Beautiful evening of music making.

Saturday, 3rd February. To a grim industrial estate on the fringes of deepest, darkest Tooting, where the By the Horns Brewery (purveyors of craft ales to the South London hipster massive) were holding a musical evening in their beer hall. 

Topping the bill, guests of honour, were Ese & The Vooduu People. The band were due on to play two sets straight after the Ireland v France rugby match. Ese herself, a lady of Nigerian extraction who cares little for the antics of beered up and bellowing middle class gels and boys was absolutely petrified.

Fortunately the band silenced the doubters and rugger buggers with a storming show that mixed well-chosen covers ("Police & Thieves", "My Girl", "Fly Away", "Family Affair", "Valerie", "Manic Depression" etc) with originals.

Acoustically, the place left a lot to be desired, but it was a great place to play and the owners made the band most welcome, watering and feeding them handsomely.


Two recent concerts at Symphony Hall Birmingham.
Last Thursday
Strauss Death and Transfiguration,
Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2,
Sibelius Symphony  No. 2.
Edward Gardner Conductor
Baiba Skride Violin
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Last night;
Mozart Symphony No 35, Haffner,
Bruckner Symphony  No 8.

Bruckner Orchester Linz; Markus Poschner Conductor

I much preferred Thursdays concert (which was much better attended) than last nights, the last movement of the Bruckner I find particularly hard going.
On Thursday we were sat behind someone who, as soon as the music began, started flicking through his programme instead of giving his full attention to the music, very strange and a little distracting. Why not read the programme before the concert or during the interval, but not during the concert.

notnaim man posted:

Friday 4th May, St Georges, Bristol, Eric Bibb - everything one expects from the man.

The stand out bit? The support act got a standing ovation, Rob Green, don't judge by what you find on YouTube etc, the live performance was electric.

We were there too - totally agree with your review 

We saw Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan at the Turner Sims in Southampton yesterday. It was a wonderful concert, made more enjoyable by being able to see everything that Bill was doing with his array of pedals, as we we in the second row and had a perfect view. Thomas Morgan is an astoundingly talented bassist. He seems incredibly shy and awkward and had Bill guide him around the stage by putting a fatherly arm around his shoulder. It was almost painful to watch at times, but the music, and the interplay between them, was just wonderful. And you can take a glass of beer into the hall; no plastic cup required. A lovely evening. 

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