KVT – All Conquering Violino

Posted on Tuesday 5 Feb - 2013

KVT 2013

KVT just can’t get enough of the Vu Nhat Tan collaborations and compositions

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Thank goodness for Chula!

Recently Thursday nights have been a little too precious to go out to late night events that began at 9pm…though if I was Spanish, who famously like to cavort much later, I’d probably be saying that my time was too precious to get along to those early events

On the last couple of ‘late’ Thursday nights that funky music space ATK has had Vu Nhat Tan making sound with some really exciting collaborations and last Thursday I was ready to spit chips because I was missing out on percussionist Tran Xuan Hoa but I consoled myself with the fact that the next night Vu Nhat Tran was reprising…and perhaps extending an earlier ATK performance at Chula with violinist Trinh Minh Hien

It was one of those perfectly beautiful and unexpectedly early spring nights near the lake and in an intimate courtyard the duo launched into two compositions that apparently they’d been preparing for some time. A mixture of composition and improvisation that had Hien playing two pieces…I’ll call them sonatas because the old, old definition of a violin sonata is a musical composition for a violin accompanied by a keyboard….and in this case Vu Nhat Tran was on an electronic keyboard as well as an array of digital accessories that took the place of the traditional bass instrument that used to double the keyboard bass line.

And wonderful sound sonatas they were!

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The first was played on the traditional acoustic violin and it had me really going deep into inner spaces full of solitude and retrospect punctuated with thrusts and bursts that implied adventure and excitement. It was an exceptionally lovely piece that I could be with again and again. Its intensity was spellbinding.

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For some reason I enjoyed it much more than the second sonata (though it was exceptional too) which was played on an electric violin and was far more melodic and far more new agey.. though the fire and the soul at its core were gripping. To me it was as though it was constructed to encapsulate a distinct period of time and half way through the tensions relaxed into early morning and quiet dawning before it took up with the rhythms and external noises of bustling urban life.

From a personal viewpoint I would have preferred it without the visuals, even though I realize that they are almost a requisite of much of this type of music when in played in clubs and modern music venues. Sometimes I object to having my own mind visuals dominated by the imaginations of others….The visuals, though were in themselves excellent but too obtrusive for me. The music was more than enough in itself.

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It seems that I’ve spent all this time concentrating on the playing of Hien Violino without recognizing the essential musical dialogue provided by Vu Nhat Tan which was so clever that it supported, played along with, underscored and highlighted the fresh vivacity of the violin

A truly exceptional night’s music…a  highlight of this year’s music calendar!

The electric violin and digital sound is making exciting headway in the high class classical music world. A very good friend is off this week to see and hear one of the world’s finest violinists, Richard Tognetti, swap his acoustic for the plug in and backed by one of the world’s best chamber music orchestras and the composer on digitals, will play 6 preludes composed last year by Brett Dean. The preludes were premiered last year  and, I understand, will be a focal point of one of the Orchestra’s performances at the Hong Kong Arts Festival in March this year.

I mention the above because two of my live music highlights last year were Vu Nhat Tan’s compositions…one for orchestra and one for piano quintet.

The two sonatas from Chula Night would be brilliant on stage at Nha Hat Lon…or in a concert hall anywhere!

And Chula was at its exceptional  best and freshest and if you got there early enough before the sangria sipping crowd you were able to take in Diego’s amazing light installation using his latest furniture design creations that are truly amazing…and as the crowd discovered, truly comfortable and functionable 

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And to finish with… a couple of Diego’s new, large and atmospheric images of LongBienBridge. I thought that the old girl had just about been photo-ed  and filmed into hoh hum but not so…..  as you can see from the following.

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Kiem Van Tim is a keen observer of life in general and the Hanoi cultural scene in particular and offers some of these observations to the Grapevine. KVT insists that these observations and opinion pieces are not critical reviews. Please see our Comment Guidelines / Moderation Policy and add your thoughts in the comment field below.

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