Saturday 23rd February

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Jean Muller @ Cadogan Hall + New CD

Rating:

From the start this was everything you’d expect from a Liszt recital. Simply staggering. Jean Muller imbued it all with his very special brand of magic. Needless to say, it was an immense privilege to watch and hear him perform the incredulously virtuosic Transcendental Études. The only pity this miracle does not seem exposed to a wider and more diverse audience.

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Category: Music
Cyprien Katsaris
Photo credit: Carole Bellaïche

Katsaris @ Wigmore Hall + New CD

Rating:

Cyprien Katsaris has a twinkle in his eye, and his improvisation revealed a delightful sense of fun, matched by sheer showmanship. Trailing his hand alongside the boat for Offenbach’s Barcarolle, he unexpectedly coursed to Rodrigo; keys thrummed as if the neck of a guitar. Was that a touch of Plaisir d’Amour as he whisked us around the world? Stopping-off to chime the bells of St Clement’s. Khachaturian, fancified and scrumptious; Tchaikovsky, summoning visions of ballerinas. Then, clouds across the sky, dark and dramatic. A glissando, and a single note to end.

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Category: Culture
Theo Jackson
Photo by Ben Amure

Theo Jackson: Exploring the boundaries

Appearing at The Forge, Camden, February 27 + St James’ Theatre Studio, Belgravia, March 22

Theo Jackson is fast establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with on the Jazz scene, having returned to these shores from the US to two forthcoming London dates at The Forge in Camden and St James’ Theatre in Belgravia. Theo writes his own songs as well as offering a unique take on the standards. His slightly raspy voice belies the gentlest jazzy vibrato; imagine if you will Nick Drake in this genre and you’ll be somewhere near. I define Jackson as a contemporary storyteller and it’s one reason he cites Nick Drake as influential, alongside forces as diverse as Stevie Wonder and Tom Waits.

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Category: Music
Matthew Trusler
Matthew Trusler

1901 Arts Club: Matthew Trusler & Gordon Back

Rating:

1901 Arts Club // Waterloo

It’s worth getting to 1901 Arts Club early. I arrived about ten minutes after doors open, and the charming and elegant upstairs bar was buzzing. The first in a series of Hattori Foundation Birthday Recitals was pretty much sold out – so book your tickets soon. Erich Gruenberg, chairman of the trust that supports young and gifted musicians, commenced proceedings with an entertaining and enlightening introduction. His pleasure in sharing two of the world’s “favourite sonatas” was infectious.

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Category: Clubs
Steinberg Duo
Steinberg Duo: Louisa Stonehill and Nicholas Burns.

Steinberg Duo: CD + London dates

Rating:

Having heard the Steinberg Duo perform at the gorgeous 1901 Arts Club and admired Louisa Stonehill’s freely confident violining I wondered how it would translate to CD. It translates exceedingly well. Their current album is a stylish selection of British music featuring contemporary composer Philip Sawyers’ two violin sonatas, separated by forty years, alongside Elgar’s sonata written some fifty years previous. All timeless, all blending perfectly.

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Category: Culture
Alessandro

Alessandro Martire: Italian Cultural Institute – December 2

Alessandro Martire is an Italian pianist and composer born in Como, 1992. He has been fascinated by music and keyboard instruments since childhood. Alessandro commenced music studies at the Centro Musicale, and has since studied at Music Academy Genoa. In 2012, he gained a placement in Music Composition at Berklee College in Boston.

Alessandro draws upon Minimalist influences such as Ludovico Einaudi and the ‘Classical Crossover’ works of David Lanz. He realigns the Classical tradition through a contemporary lens producing evocative harmonies and catchy melodies. Alessandro’s approach, though larger-than-life, is accessible and open to interpretation. Signor Martire recognises a vital communication with the listener; sharing his feelings, thoughts and dreams as if an old friend. His is an Impressionistic and contemplative style whether a solo artist or in ensemble.

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Category: Culture
Project1
Photo credit: Fabio Lugaro

Cafe Oto: Otomo Yoshihide

Rating:

Cafe Oto, Dalston

Cafe Oto is one of those places I’ve always meant to check-out. Easy to get to from Dalston Kingsland Overground – a three minute walk and next door to the Arcola Theatre. Doors open at 8pm but according to staff things usually kick off “sometime before 9…” Judging by the bustling queue, I was relieved to have some choice of seating though everywhere seemed comfortable in this relaxing and ambient place. During the following hour the venue became very busy and perhaps it’s wise to arrive early.

Avant Garde improviser Otomo Yoshihide emerged almost insignificantly in plaid shirt and fishing cap to slouch over the piano, hunched beneath its open lid, forearms dipping into its strings. Slow to begin and so quiet you could hear the street outside. The amplification became ever more vibrant and as the audience quietened the sound seemed to seep from within the shared space. But this imperceptible start became all too audible, searing pulsations scorching our ears in magnitudinous dynamic range. At home I’d have turned down the volume and marvelled at its genius but there were frequent instances when just trying to listen proved unbearable. A couple of punters covering their ears I suspect enjoyed a more pleasurable experience.

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Category: Culture