Red Maids Performing Arts Centre
Saturday 27 April 2013
It is rather beside the point to attempt to pick highlights in a Concert Series that has seen so many memorable performances, but this evening’s concert by Vincent Lindsey-Clark was, by any measure, exceptional.
The music in the programme was, dare one say, mainly unfamiliar to the audience. However, Vincent’s opening set of five Dances and Songs established immediately that the programme, while novel, would be hugely listenable, and the playing remarkable. This first set was received with warm, and excited, applause. The theme of miniatures continued with the first six of Ponce’s 12 Preludes for Guitar. Tone and interpretation were superb, and Vincent draws a full and clear response from his Kwakkel instrument in every area of the fretboard.
On stage, as way from it, Vincent is engaging and entertaining. His joke regarding ‘putting off’ playing Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite perhaps gave hope to us all! His arrangement was highly effective; he handled the extremely tough demands with marvellous skill and precision, moving the sumptuous four-voice harmonies in Pieds en l’aire seamlessly, and playing through the death-defying chord changes it the end of the Mattachins with pinpoint accuracy.
Moreno Torroba’s Album No.5 belongs to the more familiar repertoire in the programme. Vincent’s impressive right-hand technique once again worked efficiently through the technical demands to deliver a wonderful range of Iberian colour, while remaining an outward picture of composure, through to the end of the beautiful habanera Niña Mersé.
Vincent’s extensive musical knowledge has been commented on before. A confessed fan of flamenco, his rendering of Paco Peña’s rumba Lola demonstrated that he has a fearsome command of this style too. The characteristic fast arpeggios, rasgueados and golpes, and the infectious rhythm, made a splendidly energetic end to the first half. The applause going into the interval was long and much deserved.
During the interval drinks I heard repeated admiring comments including the words ‘colour’, ‘tone’, ‘technique’, ‘humour’, ‘hectic’, ‘relaxed’, ‘concentration’. Sales of sheet music and the CD Theo’s Brother were brisk (Vincent’s music is now available in very nice editions from the Canadian publisher d’Oz).
The second half consisted entirely of original compositions. A feature of Vincent’s compositional style is his emotive description of the scenes in the world around us. In the new-age sounding Pulsar, we feel the grand mystery of the stars, in Shadow of the Moon, the strange and humbling effect of the sight of a solar eclipse, in Three Days in Hong Kong the cultural mix of an Asian city, and in Seascapes the unsettling beauty of the grey ocean. Each picture is painted with a pleasingly contemporary sound palette, with great musical sensitivity and energy, and impressive use of the breadth of the guitar’s resources.
The final item was Vincent’s new suite Fiesta Americana, written for Berta Rojas. It is an enchanting and vivacious exploration of Latin American dance styles. The dual 3/8 – 3/4 time signature of La Danza Galopa and the infectious Cuban groove of Salsa Roja are bouyant and stylish. Then the delicate harmonic cascades of Flight of the Butterfly provide a change of mood before the high-octane Fiesta finale. The playing was immaculate and seemingly effortless, and the sound of the instrument a pleasure. A rousing end to a very special evening, which Vincent topped off, by request, with a delightful encore of When I’m Sixty-four (after Bach and Villa-Lobos).
This was a superb evening of music. It is a rare privilege for us in the 2010’s to hear a first-class guitarist-composer in concert, in the tradition of Tárrega, Barrios and Presti. Our thanks and congratulations to Vincent Lindsey-Clark. We look forward to hearing much more of his music.
Review by Nick Regan 27 April 2013
|Dances and Songs:|
Song of Dawn
Song of Dusk
|from 12 Preludes|
Mattachins (Sword Dance)
|Album No. 5:|
Quien te puso petenera
Shadow of the Moon
Three Days in Hong Kong
La Danza Galopa
Vuelo de la Mariposa