14 September 2013

Divina - music

This is the MSC Divina and it’s big: 133,500 tonnes; 3,959 passengers; 1,325 crew. It’s surprisingly good for such a large enterprise. This was BIG and neat and new: built 2012. Cruise chips are just floating resorts which include music and I always meet the musicians and I often feel I have more in common with them than some fellow passengers. I didn’t meet all the musos this time. I noticed small and digital has come to the seas: solos and duos and trios with midi. The classical contingent was a Russian female outfit called the New Light Trio. The name seemed slightly odd for a classical trio but I enjoyed their music. As with all music here this is light entertainment, but these women played very nicely. They are obviously well trained. Trust Eastern Europe for classical players. Maya Ivanova (piano) was the leader, with Julia Simonova (first violin) and Maria Melkina (second violin). They were joined by Hanna Sitnik (soprano, Belarus) for some sets. Their mix of Brandenburg and Ave Maria was strange and some tunes were arrangements of musicals and ballads. I preferred the more traditional repertoire, Viennese waltzes, a season or two, the arias and the like, and a few more obscure pieces. Igor Kravtsor (piano, also Russia) sat in for some sets between the classical players. Igor was a very pleasing jazz pianist, merging jazz standards into long medleys. This was full handed playing, all moving voicings and arpeggiated improvs and some long, indulgent glissandi and fluid with changes of style and time signatures. Think Ellington and Miss Jones and Tenderly played with sophistication but presentable to an unaware audience. He even dropped into Giant steps when he saw me coming. Clever and satisfying. The first jazz I heard was Alessandro Esposito (alto sax, Italy) playing standards against midi backing tracks. Paolo Ferrara (piano, Italy) also played standards with Real Books charts and I heard Alessandro and Paolo together once, still with electronic bass and drums, but somewhat more real sounding. Thanks to Alessandro who did a last minute take on Alone together when he saw me late one night. I imagine the musos like to have an audience, and there was not much of a listening audience here, except for the classical trio.

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