Kaleidoscope Night Of Shadows and Sagas at the Odessa Club, June 3rd 2015.
‘Of Shadows and Sagas’ is a superb title for a concert. The suggestion of mystical adventure and mysterious storytelling whet the appetite long before any patron sets foot into the familiar surroundings of the Odessa Club’s top floor; the musical adventure one takes on the first Friday of each month begins in this same setting, but always ends up somewhere entirely unique.
The by-now standardized inclusion of a piece of classical-era music begins this evenings concert. Michael Haydn’s Divertimento in C major employs a most unusual trio of oboe, viola and double bass. The playing here is of the highest quality, with flawless passagework by Kaleidoscope curator Karen Dervan on Viola, and some sweet oboe melodies (yes, the oboe was just described as sweet) by Matthew Manning. Particularly impressive here is the agile double bass playing of Dominic Dudley.
As more audience members file in after the first piece, it becomes apparent that the gig is very much sold out, and people squeeze in and around each other. The room gets very warm, which perhaps might have contributed to the lull in excitement during the Redbrick Duo‘s set of Piazzolla Tangos. The music is played well, but the flute and guitar duo fail to ignite the crowd, lacking a chemistry in performance that an audience as shrewd as the Kaleidoscope regulars would appreciate. The first half is wrapped up by a virtuosic display by Dominic Dudley in The Last Contrabass of Las Vegas, accompanied by his wife Therese Fahy as the infatuated narrator.
The second half, played to a pleasantly air-conditioned room, begins with Golijov’s “Tenebrae” for String Quartet, performed by an esteemed quartet of Elaine Clarke, Emily Thyne, Karen Dervan and Polly Ballard. The performance of this meditative piece is dedicated to the memory of violist John Lynch, who was a longstanding contributor and friend to Kaleidoscope. At the conclusion of the Golijov, Clarke Thyne and Ballard treat the audience to an arrangement of the air Slán le Maigh done by Lynch himself, which even in its own right could be the highlight of the evening. Bully’s Acre rounded out the show with an all-too-brief set; the three members of the group exude wildly different personalities, and yet their stage manner is highly enjoyable. The crowd are left calling for more, but the Kaleidoscope fans must wait until next month’s installment to quench their thirst for the next enigmatic musical experience.
Michael Haydn – Divertimento in C Major MH179
Astor Piazzolla – Selections front Histoire du Tango –
Eugene Kurtz – The Last Contrabass of Las Vegas
Osvaldo Golijov – “Tenebrae” for String Quartet
Arranged by John Lynch – Slán le Maigh
Bully’s Acre – Selection of Tunes