LBMC: An evening of musical tapas with Hannah Marcinowicz and John Reid


On Saturday 26th February 2011 those very clever people at Leighton Buzzard Music Club brought us two more talented young musicians: Hannah Marcinowicz with her saxophone and John Reid playing the piano. The underlying theme of the concert was Spanish, although the composers came from many lands and several different centuries.

The mellifluous sound Hannah produced with her sax made it immediately clear that the instrument can do much more than jazz solos. The sound was like a purring kitten, prone to scampering off in trills and runs and with a surprising range of both tone and pitch. When I attend these concerts I am constantly surprised at the wonderful music and varied repertoire given by solo instrumentalists of all persuasions. This was one of the charms of the evening.

The Spanish theme was established with the joyous little ‘Fantaisie sur “Le Freischütz” de Weber’ by Jean-Nicolas Savari. It was followed by a yearning piece of Debussy – ‘Syrinx’. Hannah explained that, in mythology, Syrinx was a nymph who fled from Pan down to the water’s edge and turned herself into a reed which Pan plucked and shaped into pipes, so he has been playing her ever since – and you could hear the nymph’s fear and the wind in the reeds in the music. The mood turned sprightly once more with a musical realisation of five picture postcards in ‘Tableaux de Provence’ by (hooray!) a female composer, Paule Maurice. My favourite of this little suite was “Des Alyscamps l’âme soupire” which had a soulful, Gershwin feel to it. The final piece of the suite was recommended to us as a French version of “Flight of the Bumble Bee” and proved a tour de force of speed and trills. Bravo!

John now gave us two Argentinian dances by Alberto Ginastera. The first harked back to the Thirties and had something of Scott Joplin’s slow rags about it, crossed with Manuel da Falla, with lots of luscious blue notes. The second was a fast dance allowing John to showcase his formidable skills and talent.

The first half was brought to a close with Hannah’s ‘signature piece’: an arrangement of “Deep Purple”. Variations on the theme of that lovely song were played with enormous verve by both parties.

The second half opened with a short, lyrical and varied sonata by Telemann which led us forward to more demanding music by Jean Françaix which Hannah described as ‘a cross between Poulenc and Stravinsky, spiky and anti- romantic. Here were African influences as well as Latin, harking back to the Twenties and including something, introduced by John as ‘intricate’, in five-four time. Next came a traditional Japanese love song, gentle as a lullaby, which was surprisingly western in tone and tempo. Now we returned to the fiery Latin temperament with ‘Intermezzo from “Goyescas”’ by Enrique Granados. Finally we heard ‘Pequena Czarda’ by Pedro Iturralde. There was a big dollop of film noir about this piece. The girl with the sad eyes spies M’sieur Rick through the hazy cigarette smoke in his ill-lit gin-joint; the music takes off in loops and palpitations as she wishes she hadn’t come. She flutters, she prevaricates. She tries to run from him and suddenly there’s a touch of klezmer to the music as she tries to push her way through the Jewish refugees in the doorway. But Rick is at her elbow now. The refugees bicker amiably as he leads her away. I shall keep my ears open for more Iturralde; this piece made a very fine finale. So much so that our enthusiastic applause persuaded Hannah and John to give us an encore – Scott Joplin’s ‘New Rag’.

What a lovely selection of Spanish-flavored musical tapas – as light and pequeño as you could wish for.



Published by Judi Moore

Hi there, I hope you find something to interest you here. In December 2017 I published my fourth book – ‘Wonders will never cease’. It’s a satirical campus novel set in the fictional Ariel University in 1985. If you enjoyed Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse novels, Willy Russell’s ‘Educating Rita’, David Lodge’s campus novels or Malcolm Bradbury’s ‘The History Man’ back in the day, you may enjoy revisiting the ivory towers of 1980s’ academe thirty years on. See what you think. “It is December, 1985. The year is winding gently towards its close until Fergus Girvan, a Classicist at Ariel University, finds his research has been stolen by the man who is also seeking to steal his daughter. But which man is, actually, the more unscrupulous of the two? And is there hope for either of them?” In the autumn of 2015 I published a volume of short fiction: 'Ice Cold Passion and other stories'. I am also the author of novella 'Little Mouse', a shortish piece of historical fiction which I published in 2014 and, a sequel to it, 'Is death really necessary?', my eco thriller set in the near future and which, confusingly, I published in 2009. All the books are available from all good online bookshops and FeedARead on paper, and as e-books on Kindle. On a semi-regular basis, and about a month after the event, I post here reviews which I do for Big Al & Pals, the premier reviewer of indie books, based in the States. My interests tend to thrillers, SF, magic realism and other quirky stuff. On this blog are also posted the reviews I did for Leighton Buzzard Music Club over some five years up to the end of 2015. LBMC present annual seasons of eight monthly chamber music concerts at the Library Theatre in Leighton Buzzard, Bucks. They select young musicians just beginning to make their name - and the concerts are usually magnificent. I was very proud to be associated with them. I review other music, books, theatre and exhibitions which I've particularly enjoyed. BTW - it says the link to Facebook is broken. I dispute that. Click it and see, why not?

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