Romanian Folk and the Temples of Tamil Nadu

 Nyman fuses tradition with modernity. © Charles Thibo
Nyman fuses tradition with modernity. © Charles Thibo

We all know what experimental music is, right? It’s horrible to the ear, dissonant, no structure, no sense, so why bother? But what if you blend experimental composing techniques with folk dances? What if this would be done by a composer well-known for his movie soundtracks (Drowning by Numbers, Gattaca, The Piano)? What if this would culminate in extraordinary creative, stimulating and powerful string quartets?

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Blending Blues with Brahms and Schubert

Norwegian Blues meets classical music - more a workshop than a concert. © Charles Thibo
Norwegian Blues meets classical music – more a workshop than a concert. © Charles Thibo

I am not sure what Johannes Brahms would have said, but I think Franz Schubert would have warmed up to the idea, especially after a few beers at the “Schwarze Katze”, one of his favourite pubs in Vienna: blending blues with the second movement of his String Quintet in C (D.956) and the second movement of Brahms’ String Sextett No. 1. In the realm of emotions, blues and Romantic classical music are immediate neighbours. Both express mankind’s longing for a better world, both oscillate between joy and sadness, both find their expression most of the time in plaintive ballads. So marrying the two can be an interesting experiment. And Schubert was open-minded person, enjoying performing in a small circle of like-minded musicians.

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The Accordionist Who Sank the “Titanic”

The Arctic Sea - source of inspiration. © Charles Thibo
The Arctic Sea – source of inspiration. © Charles Thibo

I was at the Polar Circle yesterday night. I heard the winds blowing, chasing ice particles over the floes. I heard the whales moaning and I heard the seagulls. I heard the sea as it crashed against rocks and I heard gentle waves rippling over stone pebbles on the beach. I heard Kimmo Pohjonen, Samuli Kosminen and the Proton String Quartet.

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Chamber Music Hot as Chilly

Chilly Gonzales plays a new kind of chamber music and it’s groovy! © Charles Thibo

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.

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