Monday, 17 March 2014

Thoroughly spoilt

I have been extremely self-indulgent over the last three weeks.  I have treated myself to a ticket to three concerts to hear some wonderful music.  

The first concert was by Penguin Cafe.  I only became aware of their music last Autumn. My Monday morning art tutor plays some of their very distinctive sound during our lessons.  It's a great way to start the week.  Drawing and painting, very chilled out, interesting music in the background, and always a yummy hunk of tray bake with a cup of coffee half way through the morning.  So very civilised!

So Penguin Cafe - a Bohemian bunch.  This is my favourite piece of theirs (that I have heard so far) called Black Hibiscus and there many other enjoyable quirky pieces.  It was a great evening at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh.  Wall to wall Guardian readers in the audience, and I was one of them (although I do tend to stick to the foodie bits of the newspaper on Saturday and the Observer on Sunday only).  

A week later and I was back again at the Queens Hall, surrounded by a different group of Guardian readers but, like me, fans of the Tord Gustavsen Quartet.  Tord Gustavsen is a Norwegian jazz pianist and composer.  I first heard his music on Late Junction on Radio 3 and I have now been to three of his concerts in Edinburgh.  This piece is from the quartet's latest CD 'Extended Circle',  When they start to play the sound just washes over you in a wonderful soothing wave.  I just love it.

And then, joy of joys, I travelled up to Aberdeen on the train last Saturday afternoon, to go to a concert given by Jan Gabarek and the Hilliard Ensemble.  I have been listening to this incredible combination for many years now.  Their album 'Officium' is probably No. 1 on my Desert Island Disc list.  I found this really great Youtube clip which is an interview with Fiona Talkington (Late Junction), and if you have a few minutes to listen to it I hope you get an idea of the sublime sound Jan Gabarek and the Hilliards make together.  The concert I heard on Saturday was part of the Aberdeen Jazz Festival, more Guardian readers, and from eavesdropping while I was in the queue waiting to go into St Mary's Cathedral, I overhead someone say that this is their last concert tour, so I am very thrilled I managed to hear them live.  It was just wonderful and I will never forget it.

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