25 March 2014

A tribute to Incas

We are yet to visit the Gold of the Incas but we heard a batch of South American music this afternoon. Ambre Hammond and Marcello Maio performed a program called Tesoro Musical in association with the Incas exhibition. This was Piazzolla and Jobim and Piazzolla and Villa-Lobos and a Peruvian folk tune and some more Piazzolla. No problems there - Piazzolla is a favourite of the jazz community and us. Ambre plays piano and Marcello plays piano accordion. The mix has that street-sound that appears in folk musics around the world, with the throaty tone of the accordion melodies and the gruff chordal accompaniment. It fits this music with its working-man's humanity, simple melodies of descending (or ascending) phrases, repeating chord sequences of eight or so bars, perhaps with a simple counterpoint line for colour, perhaps with contrasting passages. It's not an elite, aristocratic music, but it's honest and humane. Grimaldo (?) means messy or unkempt and it's the name of one Piazzola tune with rabidly contrasting sections and a melody in 3 that plays out over 4 and neatly resolves on the fourth bar. I particularly liked Jobim's Portrait in black and white and thought I recognised Death of an angel from Piazzolla's Maria de Buenos Aires. They also played El condor passa. I knew this from Simon and Garfunkel in 1970, but this slow take, with a largely unadorned melody, was far more convincing. Nice. This is lovely unpretentious music with class but with a direct connection to the street and the people. Sympathetic music and nicely played. Ambre Hammond (piano) and Marcello Maio (piano accordion) performed Tesoro Musical at the National Gallery in association with the exhibition, Gold of the Incas.

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