Actually, it wasn’t a joke when I announced on Twitter that I did not plan to write a post on Chilly Gonzales’s concert in Luxembourg this Saturday evening. Too tired, too busy with other things. After all “de Kleeschen” – Luxembourg’s issue of Santa Claus – was expected over night with plenty of gifts and sweets. But when I left the Philharmonie de Luxembourg, I was so utterly amazed about Chilly Gonzales and the Kaiser Quartett that I could not resist the temptation. So here it is.
I knew the newly released album “Chambers”, where Chilly Gonzales celebrates the revival of chamber music after its cross-fertilization with rap music. But hearing this avant-garde music live, with Chilly Gonzales’ explanations and jokes, with the splendid show as the framework of the music… that was something entirely different.
It was P-Day: Piano. Perfection. Poetry. Prodigy. Pedagogy. Parody. It was F-Day: Fun. Fascination. Future. Family. Freak show. This guy takes a string quartet and lets it simulate a drum machine. And the audience listens and laughs it head off. This guy walks on the stage wearing a dressing gown and at some point he walks away from the piano and asks the quartet to “amuse” him. He lies down on the stage and he listens… and the audience listens too and laughs its head off. This guy makes fun of himself, the music business and raps on his own “musical genius”. And the audience… well you know what I mean.
Beatles , Mozart and Stravinsky
This guy plays the piano like Keith Richards the guitar, and after each piece, you are glad that the piano did not break in two pieces, because then the show would be over, and you don’t want that show to end. This guy takes the song “Eleanor Rigby” from the Beatles, “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” from Mozart and the “Sacre du Printemps” from Stravinsky and weaves them together to a new song and talks at length about how the pieces by “the Rolling Stones, Haydn and Schönberg” nicely fit together. This guy has a classical and jazz pianist background and succeeds in taking the best parts of the two worlds to create something that so far is unsurpassed: a high-class smashing performance with classical instruments that makes the audience swing and groove.
A glimpse of the future?
Anyone interested in classical music will discover a new world and get a glimpse on what the future of classical music might look like. Anyone interested in rap and electronic music will also discover a new world and find out that man will always be superior to machine because man’s creativity is unlimited while the machine is only as creative as its programmer was.
This guy from Canada is just great, and the members of the Kaiser Quartet from Hamburg must have the time of their lives while being on tour with him. If this show is in town, this is a must for you no matter what label the organizer puts on it: pop, chamber music, classical music. I had to create a new category on the this blog, and for lack of a better word invented the category “fusion”. If the future of classical music lies in the fog, than Chilly Gonzales might by one of our pathfinders.
© Charles Thibo