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Wien (AT) - Porgy & Bess

The Other Way Around

After postponing and postponing this concert, it finally happened, Saturday night at Porgy & Bess and it had been almost three years since the last time I sang at Porgy!!!It really is crazy how time flies!!!The last time I played this programme was with my dear friend the amazing classical pianist Oliver Schnyder. He and I were once looking for repertoire we could play together and so we challenged mathias to arrange Jazzstandards into Kunstlieder, which after careful consideration, he did. He wrote theses arrangements in 2019 for Oli and me, songs taken from The Great American Song Book arranged into a Kunstlied, a piano accompaniment tailor-made for each song exploring the boundaries of classical music and jazz – this time starting point Gershwin (and not Schubert, Schumann or Brahms) - the other way around : ). For the evening at Porgy we extended the original set up with Ladislav Fančowič on piano ( a Fats Waller expert : ) ) and saxophone and singer Matus Uhliarik, both living and working in Bratislava. Ladi, Matus - it was such a pleasure to work with the both of you, your kindness, flexibility and commitment are truly inspiring and I’m sorry that I still can’t pronounce your hometowns correctly, I will continue to work on it : ). Matus and I shared the set, each of us 6 solo songs and ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’, ‘Ballad of Sad Yound Men’ as duetts. Also, Ladi and I played exciting intros with sax and bass flute written by rüegg : ). We both graduated with our Master degrees in June from Dutch conservatorys and are very proud of that : )!

The evening started with a change in the programme, originally incredible pianist Soley Blümel would have premiered mathias’ piece for piano ‘Five Fragments’, but unfortunately Soley couldn’t be there and so wonderful dancer Annelie Andre stepped in and danced to Soley’s recordings. I think in December there’s a good chance you can hear this piece live played by Soley at Porgy – I keep you posted. Coming back onto a stage that carries so much personal history. In 2013, everything had started on this stage and I still remember the premiere of ‘gone too far’ like it was yesterday. Returning to a stage like that is a strange thing, a mixture of remembering and letting go, feeling different while remembering how I used to feel on that stage. I found out after the concert that audience members who also were at Elbphilharmonie were there, what a wonderful surprise : )! Thank you to everyone who came out that night to show their support. Before mathias and I closed the set with my fav Schumann ballad ‘Mondnacht’ Ladislav, the leader of marvelous Fats Jazz Band, started to play Honeysuckle rose as our first encore. Fats Jazz Band plays ‘original’ Fats Waller tunes, original in the sense that there is so much love for detail involved, from historic instruments to note for note transcription of Waller’s piano playing and arrangements – if you get a chance to catch them, don’t miss it! Because when Ladislav plays these songs and you close your eyes and listen carefully, you sometimes get to time-travel through his incredible striding : ). Dear Ladi, dear Matus, thank you for the music!

And as always, thank you Porgy!

Yours Lia

Rehearsal time with Ladislav Fančovič - excerpts from 'Someday My Prince Will Come' & 'Body & Soul'


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