Talented trio evoke Art Deco period at Sidmouth concert

PUBLISHED: 12:33 28 November 2011

Chris Gradwell of Music Deco

Chris Gradwell of Music Deco

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Music Deco trio wow Kennaway House audience with their virtuosity

THOSE who braved the first biting chills of winter to attend a cabaret concert at Kennaway House, Sidmouth, by Music Deco last Sunday, were amply rewarded by a performance of great variety and virtuosity.

Music Deco musicians Kate Walker (soprano), Chris Gradwell (clarinet, sax and flute), accompanied by Andrew Daldorph (keyboard), entertained the audience to a feast of music that wonderfully reflected the heyday of music at the beginning of the last century during the famous Art Deco period.

With illustrative pieces by such composers as Gershwin, Noel Coward, Sid Philips William Walton and others, this talented trio of musicians brilliantly reflected the development of music at that time.

It was an imaginative snapshot and epitome of the sophistication, elegance and style, which the famous Art Deco period evoked.

Gershwin’s compositions spanned both popular and classical genres and his most popular melodies are widely known. Those chosen by Music Deco focused on the originality and imagination of the composer as recognised by the famous French composer Maurice Ravel.

After a stunning opening of sequences from Rhapsody in Blue by Chris Gradwell and Andrew Doldorph, Kate Walker joined in with an excellent characterisation and witty rendition of Naughty Baby.

Those quintessentially English and often patriotic works of Noel Coward were then brilliantly illustrated in the second half by a fabulous arrangement of In a bar on the Piccola Marina. As I listened, I could imagine sailing away on one of those magnificent luxurious decadent trans-Atlantic ocean liners.

Not content with just standard popularised Tin Pan Alley numbers, the captivated audience was then brilliantly entertained with two well-chosen noisettes from Walton’s classical Façade Suite played by Chris Gradwell, with excellent accompaniment by Andrew Doldorph.

The cabaret ended with a witty piece, The Waltz, with lyrics by the famous Dorothy Parker and music by Ian Macpherson.

Dorothy Parker was a leading figure of 1920s literary society, known for her acerbic wit and eye for 20th century urban foibles. All the delightful nuances and of her poetry were skillfully illustrated in this piece by all three musicians, who received an encore.

Kennaway House should be congratulated on hosting performances of this high calibre and the Devon public can look forward to more magical cabaret evenings by Music Deco. Roger Hendy


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