Thursday, 24 March 2016

Simon Tedeschi at WAAPA

I'm not sure if I want to meet Simon Tedeschi. He has had some harsh words to say about critics (although he's happy enough to quote positive press on his website!).

 Here he is writing in Limelight magazine:

"Some (critics) are rancorous oddballs, sleeping soundly through a concert but still able to write with remarkable acuity as if they had actually been there. Others are stuck in a strange academic funk-hole, writing as if afflicted with nasty sniffles at birth that they can never quite shake off. Yet others come from an impoverished musicological background, and usually have a pre-set yardstick everything is compared to.
Less commonly, there is a critic whose head and heart are in unison, armed with a critical facility that is instructive and direct, yet never postured or mirror-gazing."
Some are rancorous oddballs, sleeping soundly through a concert but still able to write with remarkable acuity as if they had actually been there. Others are stuck in a strange academic funk-hole, writing as if afflicted with nasty sniffles at birth that they can never quite shake off. Yet others come from an impoverished musicological background, and usually have a pre-set yardstick everything is compared to.
Less commonly, there is a critic whose head and heart are in unison, armed with a critical facility that is instructive and direct, yet never postured or mirror-gazing.
- See more at: http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/Article/300757,simon-tedeschi-pans-the-critics.aspx#sthash.pM937YIm.dpuf
Some are rancorous oddballs, sleeping soundly through a concert but still able to write with remarkable acuity as if they had actually been there. Others are stuck in a strange academic funk-hole, writing as if afflicted with nasty sniffles at birth that they can never quite shake off. Yet others come from an impoverished musicological background, and usually have a pre-set yardstick everything is compared to.
Less commonly, there is a critic whose head and heart are in unison, armed with a critical facility that is instructive and direct, yet never postured or mirror-gazing.
- See more at: http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/Article/300757,simon-tedeschi-pans-the-critics.aspx#sthash.pM937YIm.dpuf
Some are rancorous oddballs, sleeping soundly through a concert but still able to write with remarkable acuity as if they had actually been there. Others are stuck in a strange academic funk-hole, writing as if afflicted with nasty sniffles at birth that they can never quite shake off. Yet others come from an impoverished musicological background, and usually have a pre-set yardstick everything is compared to.
Less commonly, there is a critic whose head and heart are in unison, armed with a critical facility that is instructive and direct, yet never postured or mirror-gazing.
- See more at: http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/Article/300757,simon-tedeschi-pans-the-critics.aspx#sthash.pM937YIm.dpuf
Some are rancorous oddballs, sleeping soundly through a concert but still able to write with remarkable acuity as if they had actually been there. Others are stuck in a strange academic funk-hole, writing as if afflicted with nasty sniffles at birth that they can never quite shake off. Yet others come from an impoverished musicological background, and usually have a pre-set yardstick everything is compared to.
Less commonly, there is a critic whose head and heart are in unison, armed with a critical facility that is instructive and direct, yet never postured or mirror-gazing.
- See more at: http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/Article/300757,simon-tedeschi-pans-the-critics.aspx#sthash.pM937YIm.dpuf"

Tedeschi is one of Australia's most acclaimed and opinionated pianists. So it was with a little trepidation and some excitement that I attended his concert on Tuesday night. Read my review below to find out what happened!






Simon Tedeschi has been quoted in the press saying that in this cultural dark age an artist must do more than art. In his first of two sold-out recitals at the WA Academy of Performing Arts on Tuesday night he demonstrated what this might look like.

Firstly he engaged with the audience –a no brainer perhaps, but the ability to make genuine eye contact and engage in sincere, witty conversation is a definite skill. Secondly the extra-musical theme to his Gershwin and Me program (drawn from Tedeschi’s chart-topping Gershwin albums) meant he took the audience on a journey. The concert opened with the first rag Gershwin wrote and included his greatest hits alongside works by his contemporaries.

The classical fraternity have struggled with what to do with Gershwin – is he a classical or jazz composer, profound or populist? Tedeschi skipped over that debate and played the heart and soul out of the music. He navigated Gershwin’s rapid gear changes in a way that felt dramatic rather than frantic and - without appearing affected - made every note appear genuinely personal.

Arrangements by Percy Grainger of Gershwin’s Love Walked In was played with spacious tenderness while the madcap extremes of Grainger’s own In Dahomey were delivered with flamboyance. Gershwin’s Three Preludes bristled with technical confidence and the bluesy second Prelude contained a hushed intimate improvisation. These were heard alongside three piano roll transcriptions Lady Be Good, ‘S Wonderful and Strike Up the Band where Tedeschi’s light touch and noisy stride bass line created a fabulous honky tonk sound.

In jazz numbers by Dave Brubeck and Oscar Peterson Tedeschi demonstrated his ability to spin blues–drenched improvisations alongside the best jazz pianist.

A performance of the iconic Rhapsody in Blue with lingering silences, achingly sweet melodies and brash climaxes concluded a program that was a fascinating insight into both Gershwin and Tedeschi. Sadly there were no European counterparts; works by Rachmaninov and Debussy advertised on the program didn’t make it to the stage. Other than that when it comes to piano recitals I couldn’t ask for anything more!

This review copyright The West Australian 2016.

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