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12,535 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 254 of them this year alone and, so far, 105 this month (Feb. 24).

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Leo Blanco @ Sage Gateshead July 5.

Leo Blanco (piano).
(Review by Lance).
A solo piano recital that defied definition although brilliant will do for starters. The tall, slightly greying, Venezuelan pianist nodded to the audience before sitting at the Steinway. It was a percussive start as Blanco got into his rhythm by stamping his feet, clapping his hands, slapping his thighs and having a few raps on the wood of the grand piano - it set up a groove for him  to start rolling.
And roll he did. From South America to Africa to maybe the Moon. This was a composition, like most of his repertoire, that crossed the genre. It was indefinable, impossible to pigeonhole, wait a minute, of course it's definable - it's Music!
Each piece featured multi rhythms, changes of mood - from fff bravura flourishes to ppp tenderness - Czerny on Tequila.
Occasionally an almost imperceptible smile fleetingly appeared as he executed some technically demanding phrase, almost as if he were saying, "I made it!"
The piano really is the greatest orchestra in the world and never more so than in this man's hands. The jazz content was maybe slight but who cared it was compulsive listening as thundering appassionata passages merged into melancholic tenderness.
Gateshead on a Sunday Afternoon was the title he gave to one piece although I'm sure I've heard it on YouTube with a different title! An improvised piece with a hint of Tea For Two and later Jeepers Creepers it again displayed his awesome technique. Dramatic, with strange, but not displeasing, harmonies it brought the first set to a close. Touchingly, he looked at the Steinway and applauded the magnificent shiny beast.
Apart from displaying his faultless technique Blanco also engaged the audience with odd bits of information eg; in Venezuela the cows are all given individual names!
A piece celebrating Afro/Peruvian music preceded an Arabic influenced composition that saw the pianist remove the music rack and produce some oud-like sounds from the piano strings before blowing up a desert storm on the 88 notes. This was wild then, suddenly, it mellowed  An oasis in the tempest or was it a mirage?
At times he appeared to be singing along with his phrases. we couldn't hear him but it was so well synced we didn't need to.
And then it was over and our heartbeats returned to near normal - it had been that sort of night.
Well done to The Sage and the Vamos! Festival for combining to produce such a memorable evening.
Lance.

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

Slightly greying?

Lance said...

Yeah I suppose there are degrees of greyness - I have passed the 'slightly' level! Who cares? it was what he did with the black and whites that counted.
Hope you enjoyed the concert.

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