Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Classical Twist at Glór
Young Slovakian violinist Vladimir Jablokov brought his quintet to Glór Ennis as last Wednesday in a programe of jazz and rock infused music underpinned with a fine classical virtuoso technique. I have to confess to approaching midweek events at this venue with a sense of trepidation as turnouts can tend to be low regardless of the calibre of artist and it is not a cosy venue for small intimate audiences. The audience in fact numbered a respectable eighty or so and filled the back section of the stalls and last row of front stalls with a core of half a dozen of us occupying the front row.
Vladimir bounded onto the Glor stage, the epitomy of cool in a natty silver grey piped suit with matching winkle pickers and ran through a set list drawn from his new album augmented with some from Fiddler on the Roof. He spoke a little bit about his background and his experiences of busking in Grafton Street where most of his fans will have heard him first. I first came across Vladimir in the Gaiety Theatre where his dulcimer ensemble attired in Hungarian costume entertained in the foyer of the Gaiety at a Jim Molloy production called the Great Waltz, a perfect aperitif to the sparkling fare that followed. The Slovak Festival Orchestra is another of his endeavours, a chamber orchestra of family members and conservatoire students who played with great verve and enthusiasm when I heard them at UCH Limerick. My review of Mario Lanza tribute show here. Classical Twist is a relatively new venture and having toured pubs last year including Upstairs at Dolan's last November (my review here ) is going into larger venues this year.
The show was great fun . Vladimir is a star, compelling to watch and plays with his usual exuberance moving around the stage like a stadium rocker tempered with the charm of a salon performer. He is very well served by his band. What a pleasure to hear Adam Kurac on a proper accoustic grand piano rather than an electric model . Kurac's arrangements and original compositions are subtle and viola players will appreciate the rich alto lines beautifully played by Stefan Balazovics. The line up includes Andrew Czibi on bass who aquitted himself very well on his first night with the band. If I had a criticism, it is that Conor Murray on drums was a little heavy handed overall particularly in Eleanor Rigby. Younger brother Victor Jablokov completed the quintet.
At this venue audiences tend to disperse favouring the tiered seats at the rear stalls leaving the large front stalls on the flat deserted which creates a distance between artists on stage and audience when numbers are less than a hundred. *
Many fans stayed to meet Vladimir and his band members who graciously came front of house to meet and greet following the show and while his new CD has much to recommend it, this is one act you have to see live!
*Several artists have remarked on this as they peered out to see if there is anyone there. Sitting in the front row with a few fellow enthusiasts with a gap of yards between you and the next full row can make one feel a little isolated . A middle aged lady on my left remarked she felt like a groupie. There must be a way to consolidate the audience reduce the size of the auditorium to create a more intimate space for these events. Is there a way of curtaining off the wide wing areas and introducing some subtle lighting so the artist can see his audience. Performers on the stalls floor works but I presume there are logistical difficulties in moving the piano .