Review of Accordion Sensations by music critic Robert Hugill

Great review published today on Planet Hugill Blog – www.planethugill.com
Paul Chamberlain - Accordion Sensations

Weber, Scarlatti, Piazzolla, Zoltariev; Paul Chamberlain; Pentland Music
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Jul 25 2014
Star rating: 4.0
Transcriptions and more from the young Scottish accordion player

Paul Chamberlain was one of the first classical accordionists to graduate from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His debut disc, Classical Accordion, was released in 2011 and featured a mixture of transcriptions and new music for accordion. On this new disc,Accordion Sensations, he performs transcriptions of music by Carl Maria von Weber and Scarlatti, plus music by Astor Piazolla and Vladislav Zolatriev (Zoltaryov), performed with the Maxwell Quartet and violinist Feargus Hetherington.

Chamberlain opens with Carl Maria von Weber’s Konzertstuck in F minor originally written in 1821, it is in four movements which run continuously and is explicitly programmatic, describing a young woman waiting for her husband to return from the war. Chamberlain’s performance is simply dazzling, both in terms of the degree of speed and complexity, but also in terms of the subtlety he brings to the quieter moments. At times he manages to sounds as if he has three hands. The transcription manages to capture both the sustaining sense of the orchestra and the more percussive aspects of the piano.

Chamberlain follows this with a pair of Domenico Scarlatti sonatas, Sonata in F sharp minor, K25 and Sonata in G major K 455. Both are nicely perky with some lovely even passagework and a fine neo-classical feel to the performance.

Astor Piazzolla wrote his Five Tango Sensations in 1989 for himself to perform on the bandoneon (a form of concertina, popular with tango bands in Argentina) with the Kronos Quartet, here Chamberlain plays three movements (Asleep, Loving, Fear) on the accordion with the Maxwell Quartet.  Asleep is a slow lyrical piece which develops into a slow yet complex texture. The accordion is to the fore, the strings are closely miked so that they sound like a larger body of strings. Loving is a throbbingly seductive piece, full of the sounds and rhythms we associate with Piazzolla, whilst Fear is a wonderfully rhythmic evocation.

Vladislav Zolatriev was a Russian composer and bayan player (the bayan is a form of chromatic accordion invented in Russia in the 20th century). His Sonata No. 2 is a lovely neo-classical work which he originally wanted to call Symphony in the style of Haydn. The Allegro ingenuo is a delightful chattering sort of Haydn Allegro. The middle movement, Adagio tranquillo molto is slow and evocative (in fact it describes a sunrise), but with a nice spiciness to the harmonies. The final Vivacissimo con spirito is a lovely romp which gives Chamberlain the chance to show some nifty fingerwork.

Piazzolla’s Le Grand Tango was written for him to play with cellist Mstislav Rostropovich in 1982, fusing tango rhythms and jazz syncopations in an attractively exotic mix, here giving a spirited and vibrant rendition by Chamberlain and violinist Feargus Hetherington.

This is a fine disc showcasing both Chamberlain’s talent and the versatility of the modern accordion. Perhaps the sound world of the instrument is something of an acquired taste and I was a little dubious at first but confess to being won over. So, do try it!

Carl Maria von Weber (1786 – 1826) – Konzertstuck in F minor
Domenico Scarlatti (1685 – 1757) – Sonata in F sharp minor, K25
Domenico Scarlatti (1685 – 1757) – Sonata in G major, K455
Astor Piazolla (1921 – 1992) – Tango Sensations
Vladislav Zoltariev (1942 – 1975) – Sonata No. 2
Astor Piazzolla (1921 – 1992) – Le Grand Tango
Paul Chamberlain (accordion)
The Maxwell Quartet
Fergus Hetherington (violin)
PENTLAND MUSIC CD02 1CD [62.54]

Posted in Classical Accordion, Concert Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Classical Accordion at the Fringe – Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014

Royal Over-Seas League – 100 Princes Street, Edinburgh (Venue 19)

Concerts on Tuesday 5th August and Saturday 9th August at 3pm.

Paul Chamberlain returns to the Fringe with a programme of original works and transcriptions including Weber’s famous Konzertstück in F Minor, along with pieces by Rameau, Piazzolla and Zolotariev. One of the first classical accordionists to graduate from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, he made his Bridgewater Hall début in 2013 and has been featured on BBC Radio 3 and Radio Scotland. ‘An enthralling display of musical mastery – humble, charming and informative’ **** (BroadwayBaby.com) ‘Chamberlain’s remarkable technique and the scope of his instrument shines throughout’ (Musician).

Paul Chamberlain performs at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 5th & 9th August 2014

Paul Chamberlain performs at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 5th & 9th August 2014

 

Posted in Accordionists, Classical Accordion, Concerts, Edinburgh Fringe Festival | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review of ‘Accordion Sensations’ in the Sunday Times

Paul’s new album ‘Accordion Sensations’ was reviewd in the Culture section of the Sunday Times this weekend, by music critic Paul Driver.

The accordion is still establishing itself as a “classical” instrument, but listening to the first item here — a transcription of Weber’s Konzertstück in F minor, Op 79 — one may feel a certain thrill of inevitability. Chamberlain conjures up both piano and orchestral parts with fierce fluency and a fully Weberian brilliance in fast excursions. His rendering of two Scarlatti sonatas is enchanting, and the segue into the bittersweetness of Piazzolla’s Tango Sensations (with string quartet) as stimulating as it is unlikely. Zolotariev’s neo-classical Sonata No 2 is capped by Piazzolla’s Le Grand Tango for accordion and violin (Feargus Hetherington), combining to positively orchestral effect. PD

Great review of ‘Accordion Sensations’ by Paul Driver in the Sunday Times

‘The accordion is still establishing itself as a “classical” instrument, but listening to the first item here — a transcription of Weber’s Konzertstück in F minor, Op 79 — one may feel a certain thrill of inevitability. Chamberlain conjures up both piano and orchestral parts with fierce fluency and a fully Weberian brilliance in fast excursions. His rendering of two Scarlatti sonatas is enchanting, and the segue into the bittersweetness of Piazzolla’s Tango Sensations (with string quartet) as stimulating as it is unlikely. Zolotariev’s neo-classical Sonata No 2 is capped by Piazzolla’s Le Grand Tango for accordion and violin (Feargus Hetherington), combining to positively orchestral effect. PD’

It is available to purchase on Paul’s website – www.theaccordionist.com or from Amazon – Accordion Sensations. It can also be downloaded on Itunes

Accordion Sensations - Paul Chamberlain - Released 1st July 2014

Accordion Sensations – Paul Chamberlain – Released 1st July 2014
Posted in Classical Accordion, Concert Reviews, Concerts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Accordion Sensations Tour continues in Bristol, Wales and Edinburgh

Over the last month, Paul has been performing on his ‘Accordion Sensations’ summer tour around the UK.

The launch event was held at the 1901 Arts Club in London and featured repertoire from the new album. For this concert, Paul was also joined by violinist Feargus Hetherington to perform Piazzolla’s Grand Tango.

Paul Chamberlain & Feargus Hetherington perform at London's 1901 Arts Club

Paul Chamberlain & Feargus Hetherington perform at London’s 1901 Arts Club

The tour continued with performances at the Apple Store in Regent Street, and St Giles in the Fields Church, before heading to Birmingham, Oxford and Cambridge.

Paul Chamberlain - Accordion Sensations

Last week, Paul was joined by Michael Haywood (saxophone, violin and clarinet) for three concerts in Newcastle, Fareham and Faversham.

The final leg of the tour sees Paul perform at St George’s Bristol on Friday 1st August for a lunchtime recital, followed by concerts in Cardiff, Llanstadwell and then concluding at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with two concerts in OverSeas House, Princes Street in the heart of the city. More details on the upcoming concerts is available by following the links below.

1st August – Bristol – St George’s Bristol

2nd August – Wales, Cardiff – Norwegian Church Arts Centre

3rd August – Wales, Pembrokeshire – St Tudwalls Church

5th August – Scotland, Edinburgh – Royal Overseas League

9th August – Scotland, Edinburgh – Royal Overseas League

Posted in Classical Accordion, Concerts, Edinburgh Fringe Festival | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Accordion Sensations’ CD Launch and Summer Concert Tour

‘The Accordionist’ Paul Chamberlain, is heading off on a grand tour of the UK this summer. Paul’s flair for his unique instrument has seen him perform to highly engaged audiences across the UK as well as releasing his debut disc ‘The Classical Accordion’ in 2011 to great acclaim. His latest CD is to be released on 1st July and sees varied repertoire from Weber, Piazzolla, Scarlatti and Zolatariev. Last year saw Paul perform around the UK, where he enjoyed his Bridgewater Hall debut with a solo recital as part of the long-established Manchester Mid-Day concert series, and abroad in California.

Paul is passionate about the accordion and its place on the classical stage, writing for Gramophone, Paul commented: ‘I believe that the accordion has an exciting future not only as a solo instrument, but also in chamber ensembles. The accordion opens up an interesting multi-textural sound world to composers and I have plans for a future project that focuses on creating new chamber repertoire for the instrument.’

Accordion Sensations - Paul Chamberlain - Released 1st July 2014

Accordion Sensations – Paul Chamberlain – Released 1st July 2014

Track Listing - Accordion Sensations

Track Listing – Accordion Sensations

Paul has just announced his Summer 2014 tour to celebrate the release of his latest album, which takes him to some of his favourite venues around the UK. Please see full dates here:

1st July – London – 1901 Arts Club (Album Launch event)

2nd July – London – Apple Store, Regent Street

3rd July – London – St Giles in the Fields

4th July – Birmingham – St Martin in the Bullring

5th July – Oxford – Holy Trinity Headington

6th July – Cambridge – Emmanuel Church

10th July – Scotland, Dunkeld – Birnam Arts Centre

11th July – Scotland, Dundee – Dundee Cathedral

13th July – Scotland, Aberdeen – Cowdray Hall

18th July – Newcastle – Lit & Phil

19th July – Portsmouth, Fareham – Ashcroft Arts Centre

20th July – Kent – Faversham Parish Church

1st August – Bristol – St George’s Bristol

2nd August – Wales, Cardiff – Norwegian Church Arts Centre

3rd August – Wales, Pembrokeshire – St Tudwalls Church

5th August – Scotland, Edinburgh – Royal Overseas League

9th August – Scotland, Edinburgh – Royal Overseas League

Accordion Sensations - Summer Tour Dates

Accordion Sensations – Summer Tour Dates

Posted in Accordion Festivals, Accordionists, Classical Accordion, Concerts, Edinburgh Fringe Festival | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scottish Tango Ensemble concert in Inverness

On Friday 8th November, The Scottish Tango Ensemble gave a concert in Inverness Town House for the Inverness Chamber Music Society as part of their “At one with Music” Series.

The ensemble comprises of Paul Chamberlain – Accordion, Gemma O’Keeffe – Violin, Gregor Blamey – Piano and Tom Berry – Double Bass, and they performed a programme featuring different styles of Tango from the old Salon Tango style, to works by Astor Piazzolla and some other more modern Latin styles.

Scottish Tango Ensemble at  Inverness Town House 8th Nov 2013

The Scottish Tango Ensemble
Tom Berry – Bass, Paul Chamberlain – Accordion, Gemma O’Keeffe – Violin, Gregor Blamey – Piano

More information about the group can be found on their website  – www.scottishtangoensemble.com

Posted in Concert Reviews, Concerts, Scottish Tango Ensemble | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Concert Review – Paul Chamberlain at Bridgewater Hall Manchester

This review of Paul’s concert at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall was written by Craig Bradley and published on his website – www.craigbradley.co.uk
Paul Chamberlain – Classical Accordion

FEBRUARY 18, 2013

Photo of accordionist Paul Chamberlain

Paul Chamberlain

Straight in with the big guns and it was Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D minor to start. Giving the Organ a run for its money in the power and volume stakes and, as explained by Paul, given an added level of intimacy when performed on the Accordion.

The light virtuosity of the Scarlatti contrasted well with the Bach and demonstrated further the musical versatility of Paul and the instrument.

Bach and Scarlatti aren’t so unusual on the Accordion these days, but with Classical Accordion programmes often dominated by highly dissonant and challenging contemporary works, it was very refreshing to hear some original works for the instrument with beautiful melodies and harmonies that the average “classical music concert goer” wouldn’t find too difficult to enjoy.

It was however in the more modern and challenging contemporary works in which I felt Paul excelled. His beautiful shaping of the melodic lines in the Nagayev showed off his innate musicality.

With a very energetic performance of Katchaturian’s Toccata to finish, this was a polished, virtuosic and musically skilled performance of a thoroughly enjoyable programme.

A bit like Andy Murray, Paul is a Scotsman doing very well in a world usually dominated by foreigners and I suspect his personality, repertoire choice and sensitive musicianship will mean his current success can only be set to continue.

Paul Chamberlain played classical accordion at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester on 13th February 2013

Review by Craig Bradely

Posted in Classical Accordion, Concert Reviews, Concerts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Videos of Classical Accordionist Paul Chamberlain

Two new videos are now available of Scottish Classical Accordionist Paul Chamberlain.

Published on Youtube, the first video features the wonderful ‘Toccata’ by Aram Khachaturian. Written originally for the piano it transcribes very effectively onto the the accordion.

The second video is the sublime ‘Romance’ by Franck Angelis.

Posted in Accordionists, Classical Accordion, Concerts | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paul Chamberlain performs at Haddington Concert Society – Sunday 27th October 2013

On Sunday 27th October 2013, Paul Chamberlain will be giving a recital in the beautiful East Lothian town of Haddington for the Haddington Concert Society.

Programme for Haddington Concert Society 2013-2014

Programme for Haddington Concert Society 2013-2014

Part of the ‘Music Up Close’ series of concerts held in the Assembly Room of Haddington’s Georgian Town House, this concert promises “A cornucopia of delights from this rising young Scottish star, in whose hands the classical accordion displays all the colour of an orchestra.

The programme will feature works by J.S. Bach, Khachaturian, Weber, Scarlatti, Zolotariev, Angelis, Granados and Piazzolla.

Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565 – J.S. Bach

Sonatas in F sharp minor, K25 and G major K455  – Domenico Scarlatti

Romance – Franck Angelis

Concertstuk – Carl Maria VonWeber

********************************************

Toccata – Aram Khachaturian

Spanish Dance – Enrique Granados

Adios Nonino / Libertango – Astor Piazzolla

Prophetic Dream – Viacheslav Semionov

Sonata No 2 – Vladislav Zolotariev

Concert programme - Paul Chamberlain at Haddington Concert Society

Concert programme – Paul Chamberlain at Haddington Concert Society

Commencing at 7.30pm, tickets are £11 (£9 concessions) and are available in advance at Kesley’s Bookshop, Haddington, Tel 01620 826725, and at the door on the night.

Further information is available from the society’s website – www.haddingtonconcertsociety.com

Posted in Accordionists, Classical Accordion, Concerts | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Successful recitals in Faversham and Peterborough

In July, Paul Chamberlain gave two very successful recitals in Faversham and Peterborough.

The concert in Faversham took place in the Arden Theatre and was a joint concert with the Kyiv Classic Accordion Duo from Ukraine. The theatre was full to capacity and Paul opened the concert with Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. At the end of the evening, Paul joined with the Kyiv Duo in a special rendition of Piazzolla’s Libertango.

Concert in Faversham's Arden Theatre on 21st July 2013

Concert in Faversham’s Arden Theatre on 21st July 2013

The following week, Paul performed the following programme in the magnificent setting of Peterborough Cathedral.

J.S. Bach – Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565 (1685-1750)

Domenico Scarlatti – Sonata in G major K455 (1685 -1757)

Franck Angelis – Romance (1962-)

Aram Khachaturian  – Toccata (1903-1978)

Vladislav Zolotariev – Sonata No 2  (1942-1975)

Peterborough Cathedral Lunchtime Recitals

Peterborough Cathedral Lunchtime Recitals

Peterborough Cathedral Concert

Posted in Classical Accordion, Concert Reviews, Concerts | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment