Reader Norman Warwick retired to Lanzarote a couple of years ago. He writes an arts page for a UK newspaper group and he very kindly sent us his review of the 34th Festival Internacionale de Musica de Canarias.
On arrival we had no real idea what to expect but our anticipation was increased by the sight of The Convento De Santo Domingo in Teguise being full well before the commencement time of a concert by Nordic Voices.
What we eventually saw and heard is almost impossible to describe. No words had been sung, only unaccompanied sounds, but somehow we ‘saw’ the sun rise and heard echoes of a pastel dawn, and the chatter of shoppers and the noise of traffic before enjoying the peaceful, easy feeling of a sunset, as the group took us through a day in Norway.
The six Nordic Voices, comprised of three males and three females, gave us not songs but recognisable sounds, soothing and melodic, of the strange rise and fall of a day. To the theme of Everything Is Going To Be Alright, Nordic Voices gathered in a huddle and created a sound-scape of nature at work.
Their closing interpretation of the sheet music of Ode To Joy being torn to shreds, in an obvious reference to contemporary politics, and then thrown away, only to be pecked at and recreated by the birds in the town square, was a heartbreaking reference given hope by the Neil Young number.
These Nordic Voices were Inspirational.
When living in the Uk we often attended events organised by Rochdale Music Society without having heard of the musical ensembles they were presenting. We had, by then, come to trust the guarantee of quality that came with any RMS presentation.
After three years of life here we have similarly come to trust the quality control of the annual Festival Internacional De Music De Canarias. This trust had been re-inforced by the unique sound-scapes delivered by Nordic Sounds when we saw another act on this year’s programme for the 34th edition of this Annual Festival.
Again, nothing could have prepared us for the dexterity, lightness of touch and sheer joie de vivre of Ensemble Praeteritum. The concert was held in the Teatro De San Bartolome, with its comfortable seats and clear acoustics which were never part of the equation in our local civic centre in the UK where Rochdale Music Society held their concerts.
This five piece classical line up of clarinet, two violins, viola and cello offered two thirty five minute selections of music by Mozart and by Carl Maria Von Weber.
Their Mozart was full of well loved and remembered refrains and the music rose and fell as if on a breeze with the Weber slightly more gentle and dream-like. Three standing ovations were well deserved
As Rochdale and Lanzarote are similar in size, population count and our breadth of cultural diversity, I still occasionally submit brief reviews of Lanzarote arts to The Manchester Evening Newspapers’ all across the arts pages to enable Uk readers, and potential visitors to Lanzarote, to compare venues, audience size and arts performances delivered in the two regions. I also hope they might take note of artists mentioned, and perhaps seek out a cd or dvd or even look for them performing live in the UK on European tours.
So I was happy to recently report that the Catholic church in the tiny inland Lanzarote village of Tinajo was packed to the rafters for a free concert, promoted by the local council as part of the 34th Festival International De Musica De Canarias. This was the third Festival event we had seen and we had been unsure what quality to expect from the German ensemble, Cuarteto Klengel, a four piece chamber orchestra, named after Julias Klengel 1850-1933, a cellist best remembered for his solo compositions for that instrument.
Three of his pieces, and work by Bach and Strauss were beautifully performed, as, too was a closing Scott Joplin rag that led to a deserved standing ovation and encore of a James Brown song. Seriously, listening to chamber music had never felt so good, de dede dede dum !
Quarteto Klengel, Ensemble Praeteritum and Nordic Voices were just three acts starring in this annual festival, with The Orquestro Sinfonica De Tenerife and The Orquestra De Camara De Viena being headline performers.
Our thanks to Norman, and we look forward to his future reviews.