Pavel Steidl Concert
Music of Bohemian Aristocrats (Losy, Lobkovic, Cervenka) arr. Pavel Steidl - Overture, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Boure, Gigue
Niccolo paganini - Sonates and Ghiribizzi (selectione)
Napoléon Coste - Fantaisie sur l'opéra "Norma" de Bellini op.16
Carlo Domeniconi - Hommage a Jimi Hendrix
Jana Obrovská - Hommage a Choral Gothique - Prelude
Pavel Steidl - Hommage a Jana Obrovská
Genius. A funny word, often misused, often offered in the immediate excitement of a good performance or recording. It can also be subjective and encompassing of a whole manner of factors combining to create a complete and complex whole. I am a little apprehensive about using this word but I am sorely tempted.
Pavel Steidl captivated everyone in the Queen's Cross Church on Friday evening. His programme was varied, and the music was played with both a replica “Legnani Model” guitar and one with a modern design. Pavel's arrangement of a suite of music composed by various Bohemian Aristocrats served to illustrate the flawless technique of the performer. The period guitar got its chance to shine later in the first half during the more flamboyant performance of some of Paganini's Sonates and Ghiribizzi's. The clarity of the guitar was exceptional and if this early design guitar has a limited dynamic range then it was countered by the personality and projection of the performer. His face while performing is generally very expressive and during one of the sonates he played on this fact and animated himself to such a degree that a very respectful audience couldn't help but to laugh out loud. This had the effect of bringing the audience and performer together, in on the same joke if you like. This also served to further endear this extraordinary showman to an already impressed audience.
The second half was filled with modern music by Carlo Domeniconi, Jana Obrovska and Pavel himself, and this time the modern guitar got to shine. Domeniconi's Hendrix Hommage was remarkable in the sense that every reference to Hendrix's music and every technical reproduction of his sound was perfectly executed. I clearly heard distortion at one point. The other highlight for me was Pavel's own Hommage a Jana Obrovska. This outstanding composition was clearly respectful to the dedicatee whose piece we had just heard and was an absolute delight. A perfectly crafted balance of rich techniques and percussive devices combined with a solid structure and melodic balance. The haunting use of harmonic throat chanting over an arppeggiated accompaniment in one motif had me entranced. This was a masterclass in performance. Pavel seems to have it all. He is a masterful performer and is in possession of a technical ability and range that is second to none. As if that wasn't enough, his personality positively shines in both the music and the visual experience of his performance. It is very hard not to warm to such a charismatic performer and I think everyone left this lovely venue uplifted and inspired, I certainly did.
I can't help myself, I have to use that word… The man's a Genius.
Review by Andrew Bell (NESCGS member).
Photos courtesy of Les Stewart and Conall McKay