“The Brandenburg Seasons”
A powdered wig and a Musical Saw!
On Sunday night, Storm Dennis blew Johann Sebastian Bach’s best wig away.
Dutch violinist, Tim Kliphuis, and his Trio snatched hold of one of the Brandenberg Concertos and with a few confident chords they were off on a fantastical, kaleidoscopic musical journey, mixing styles, mixing rhythms, at turns playful or sentimental, sad or strident, glorying in their rhythmic virtuosity, relishing the sweetness of the violin’s tone, exploring the guitar’s timbre, and responding to the rhythm of that double bass, as it was bowed, slapped and plucked by Roy Percy in his own inimitable style.
Tim Kliphuis is a classical violinist; he is a gypsy violinist, he is a folk fiddler and he’s a jazz violinist after Stephane Grappelli’s heart. Nigel Clark plays the guitar as though he was the love child of Django Reinhardt and Segovia, and no-one plays the double bass, classical or jazz, like Roy Percy. They were imaginatively supported by three leading Scottish string players, Su-A Lee on cello, Liam Lynch on Viola, and Seonaid Aitken on violin.
And the music they played ran the gamut from Vivaldi to Piazzolla and Duke Ellington. Everything was transformed. The baroque became jazz became gypsy became Scottish dance. It was a dazzling display by musicians who knew music backwards and gloried in its variety and vitality.
And, at the end, Johann Sebastian danced a jig, shouted “Bravo!” and threw his second-best wig in the air.
As a reward Tim and co. played the sweetest, most delicate version of Richard Strauss’s Morgen that you could ever wish to hear. A wonderful concert.
The Keswick Music Society’s next concert will feature music by Elgar and will be played by pianist Martin Roscoe – one of our favourite pianists – with the internationally famous Brodsky Quartet on Sunday March 22nd at Theatre by the Lake.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Tim Kliphuis Trio had given a Family Concert, showing the same combination of irresistible energy, enthusiasm, humour and musical virtuosity. With the help of the large audience and with simpler versions of some of the same music as the evening concert they charmed the parents and children, many having come from a distance for half-term, and involved them in providing supporting backing to the music – ages ranging from low teens to a four month old who was clearly intrigued by the rhythms. The unique mix of Classical and Jazz also featured a Musical Saw (a really big one, bought in Holland) from which, with no more than a cello bow, Su-A Lee miraculously conjured a most beautiful and haunting arrangement of Moon River, to general amazement.
The Keswick Music Society’s tradition of arranging Family Concerts to encourage children’s love of classical music was praised by a member of the audience who was heard reminiscing about the late well-known Keswickian Joan Sparey, one of the Society’s founders, who first introduced him to music way back in the 50’s.
Review by Steve Matthews