Friday, March 05, 2004

Sylvie Courvoisier Abaton Trio - 04/03/2004, Brussels

Sylvie Courvoisier - p
Mark Feldman - vln
???? - cello

I hate to sound like a moldy fig, but I must make the following rant.

At this institution called Flagey, they have a monthly series called "Jeudi Jazz" ("Jazz Thursday", but they also have jazz concerts outside of the series). They also host a lot of classical music. Now, going into this concert, I did not expect to hear a straight-ahead jazz concert, but some kind of mix of contemporary music, improvised music and jazz, which would have been fine by me. I did not expect to hear a 100% contemporary music concert (there were some brief improvised violin solos, but nothing that really took us out of the classical realm, as apparently classical musicians used to improvise cadenzas). Why this was billed as a Jeudi Jazz concert, I cannot make out. Were I to go to a (fictional) "Mardi Rock" concert, I would not expect the crowd to react kindly to a dixieland performance. Flagey is hosting a series on Algerian music: I don't see any non-Algerian music on the bill.

As for the music itself, it was not really my cup of tea. I am extremely ignorant of contemporary classical music, so take my comments with much salt. I can latch on to certain sounds and passages in the fragmented world of Courvoisier's compositions and describe them as "sounding cool," but I can't step back, look at the whole and say "Yes, I really liked that." Feldman's improvised sections mentioned above were quite nice and immediately gave the music a kind of East-European dance music feel, as they were more rhythmically engaging and swung, in a way. He also had a nice stage presence, cracking jokes in-between pieces.

I discovered what I am told is a contemporary music tradition: standing up and bowing after every piece. Very odd, as if every composition were an event in itself. Seemed a bit too self-congratulatory to me.

The best part came after the concert, actually. For 2.5 euros, they were selling tickets that gave you access to a cheese & wine area, with a cheese buffet and 4 glasses of red wine per person. There was also a nice white wine that didn't even count against the intial 4! Apparently, Flagey wanted people to get totally plastered. As I was driving, I kept it to a reasonable two glasses. However, the cheese was the highlight. I'm not really a cheese fan, but this wide array was simply, there is no other term, heavenly. I felt really cheap, going back to the buffet three times, but thoses cheeses, man, they were just so good. Quite possibly better than any narcotic and more addictive (not that I'd know anything about that). More fattening, too. That cheese buffet will go down in my personal history books. If it's a regular Jeudi Jazz feature, it may well be worth going just for that. Or slip in at the end of the concert. Did I mention how great the cheese was?