Classics at the Castle
Luca Ciarla (violin) together Sue Gordon and Nina de Luca (piano accordion). Image: Sue Gordon

Classics at the Castle concerts always attract a full house and this was indeed the case for the Classics at the Castle evening last week. Sue Gordon introduced the two musicians and thanked everyone for supporting her concerts and pointed out that one of the musicians Luca Ciarla had performed previously at a Classics at the Castle concert.

So, ‘on with the show’ with Luca Ciarla (violin) together with Nina de Luca (piano accordion)  the two having teamed up to become the ‘The Duo Etnopolids’.

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As previously mentioned, Luca was making his second performance to Classics at the Castle whereas Nina was new to the audience. The performance which they both gave was unusual in such that we had a professional and talented violinist accompanied by a professional young accordionist. An interesting combination in which the two instruments when ranged together made a distinctly different and at times, unusual musical Duo combination.

So, when you have a violinist from Italy and an accordionist from Scilly what composer’s music would you select to perform for a South Africa audience? Something exciting, something unusual and of course, it should have that exciting mix of an Italian flavour together with a touch of tango music perhaps from the home of tango, Argentina. Then mix it up with some jazz and something from the classics for good measure which together can, and did, produce a harmonic and rhythmic evening.

The composers selected by the Duo were Astor Piazzolla the father of the tango and Luis Enrἰquez Bacalov both from Argentina and, Ennio Morricone from Italy. Ennio Morricone is probably even today, reckoned to be one of the world’s best known still living film composer Who works in many mediums. Astor Piazzolla well known for his exciting and lively tango compositions were mostly composed for the concertina that being a free-reed musical instrument similar to various genera of accordions and harmonica types. Luis Bacalov is best known for his compositions for film music and he has won several awards. In recent times Bacalov has composed several film music which, includes some of Quentin Tarantino films namely, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and, Django Unchanged.

So, this is some background information about the Duo’s chosen composers. Luca Ciarla together with his Sicilian companion Nina de Luca worked well together there is a good repour and vibe between the two of them and indeed some showmanship was not amiss! This is so important especially in a Duo combination for it to work well particularly in the unusual combination of a violin and an accordion. Both musicians had their specialities Luca with his electronic-acoustic music on which he plays a number of bars with the notes and scores being recorded on an electronic screen. Luca follows by playing an original free piece on his violin to the accompaniment of the previously recorded musical score.  Nino DeLuca’s wooden piano accordion was a sight to behold! As accordions sizes go the one that Nino played was a biggie! Accordions have a keyboard similar to that of a miniaturised key size of a piano with brass buttons on the other side to the keys. When played it sounds more like an organ than a piano. Professional accordions can typically play in three octaves.

One solo piece that Nino played certainly demonstrated the versatility of a big piano accordion when he played a piece which imitated that of a steam engine beginning its journey, then rushing along its tracks and finally ending its journey. No mean feat by the young man who appeared to be physically exhausted by the end of the reasonably long piece. It was met with much enthusiasm by the audience who made loud and lengthy applause.

So the Duo’s music was populated with a wide variety of music, some typical gypsy melodies other, tango and jazz themes. Towards the end of the concert, they played to amusement that well-known and still popular song from the Sound of Music “These are a few of my favourite things’. That they delighted the audience there was little doubt with heir harmonious and fascinating performance.   Luca and Nino are next off to Bahrain where I suspect they will be equally well received.

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