We welcomed violinist Thomas Gould and accordionist Ksenija Sidorova to open our 2014/15 season. We had an absolute ball – what a duo these two musicians make.
This recital was somewhat different from the more traditional forms of classical music that we usually present but this duo provided real heat and intimacy to our already cosy atmosphere at Breinton.
Three movements from Alfred Schnittke’s Suite in the Old Style (Pastorale, Ballet and Pantomime) were enough to introduce the wonder of this fascinating combination of two instruments and to engage the audience. Breaking out of the shell of traditional form and sounds, JS Bach’s Sonatas in G presented a completely new style to our audience, performed with the accordion instead of the piano. It was compelling and purifying. Bela Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances were exciting, rhythmical and thrilling. Deep, earth shaking sounds of the accordion and the distinguishingly skilled violin were flying sparks. In Pe Loc, the mysterious harmonic sounds of the violin were so haunting, many of the audience tried to figure out where the sounds were coming from and how!
The first piece of the second half was Ksenija’s solo, Schnittke’s Revis Fairy Tale. What masterful artistry and dexterity. The contrast between dark and light, and the range and capacity of the instrument opened up a whole new world of sounds. Ksenija explained that the accordion is still a relative new comer to the instrumental world, becoming prominent only in 1960’s. She hopes that, 50 years down the line, the instrument will be heard more and more. So do we. By the way our youngest son, Jasper, was attentively listening and observing the accordion while she played, trying to count the buttons on the left hand side, eventually figuring out how many there were. At the end he said, “But I still cannot figure out how that works!”
Then the duo went straight into Latin mode. Astor Piazzola’s Café 1903 and Oblivion were originally composed for the guitar and flute. Oh, but what a beautifully mellowing arrangement for violin and accordion. Thom’s violin, as if you were hearing it at some distance in the misty atmosphere of a smoky cafe, knew how to touch our senses and melt us into pieces. The famous Oblivion was bittersweet and sentimental; you rarely hear the instruments so gorgeously uniting and complementing each other like this.
And finally Monti’s Czardas - the instruments sparked and the music sparkled. It was exquisite, exotic, intertwining, witty, and most of all so enjoyable.
The duo are musically artistic, articulate, creative and magnetic, and have lovely personalities and a superb chemistry between them. Their spontaneous communication and musical inspiration were adored by all. This is exactly why I wanted to bring them to Breinton; I fell in love with their music making the minute I heard them a few years ago. Now that it happened, I would like to see them more in various venues all across UK and elsewhere – they have so much to offer. So my music society colleagues and friends, go on and engage them!
- Alfred Schnittke: Suite in the Old Style
- Johann Sebastian Bach: Sonata for Violin and Keyboard in G
- Béla Bartók: Romanian Folk Dances
- Alfred Schnittke: Revis Fairy Tale
- Astor Piazzolla: Café 1903
- Astor Piazzolla: Oblivion
- Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras No 5
- Vittorio Monti: Czárdás
Described as "staggeringly virtuosic" by The Guardian and "a soloist of rare refinement" by The Sunday Times, Thomas Gould performs as soloist with major orchestras worldwide including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, LA Phil New Music Group, Orchestre Nationale de Bretagne, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and West Australian Symphony Orchestra, collaborating with conductors such as John Adams, Nicholas Collon, Paul Daniel, Clark Rundell, John Rutter, Robin Ticciati and Garry Walker.
In January 2008 Thomas gave the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s concerto for six string electric violin Seeing is Believing. Since then he has performed the work on numerous occasions, giving national premieres in Australia, Belgium, France, Latvia, the Netherlands and the United States (West Coast). His 2011 début recording of Seeing is Believing with Aurora Orchestra and Nicholas Collon for Decca Classics received widespread critical acclaim.
Thomas has held the positions of leader of Aurora Orchestra since 2005 and associate leader of Britten Sinfonia since 2006. He also appears as guest leader with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, London Sinfonietta and Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
Since 2011 Thomas has been violinist in the successful swing band Man Overboard. Their first album ‘All Hands on Deck’, released by Champs Hill Records in 2013, received a recommendation from The Strad magazine, which wrote “this is playing that Grappelli himself would surely have been proud to call his own.”
Thomas is an associate of the Royal Academy of Music where he studied with György Pauk, and a former YCAT artist. He plays a 1782 J.B. Guadagnini violin and a six string electric violin made by John Jordan.
Born in Latvia in 1988 Ksenija Sidorova was encouraged to take up the accordion by her grandmother, who has roots in the folk tradition of accordion playing. Ksenija started to play the instrument aged eight in her home town of Riga, under the guidance of Marija Gasele. Wanting more exposure to both classical and contemporary repertoire and also more concert opportunities, her studies took her to London where she was a prize-winning undergraduate and subsequently received Masters Degree with Distinction at the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied with Professor Owen Murray. Outside the RAM her awards included a Philharmonia Orchestra Martin Musical Scholarship Fund Award and Philharmonia Orchestra Friends Award.
In February 2009 Ksenija was a joint winner of “Friends of the Royal Academy of Music Wigmore Award”, which led to her Wigmore Hall debut on May 18, 2009.
The same year she was also made a Recommended Artist under Making Music's Philip & Dorothy Green Award scheme. She was also selected to appear in Park Lane Group Young Artists New Year Series, 2009, and was described by The Times as “one of the real finds of the series”. She is also a recipient of the Worshipful Company of Musicians` Silver Medal, Maisie Lewis Award and was the first accordionist to win the prestigious WCoM Prince`s Prize. In May 2012 Ksenija became the first International Award winner of the Bryn Terfel Foundation.
Ksenija is also a winner of international competitions including a national talent competition in Latvia, the International Accordion Competition in Novosibirsk (Russia), St. Petersburg (Russia), Citta di Montese (Italy) and Siauliai (Lithuania). She has also worked with such composers as Karl Jenkins, Hans Abrahamsen, Stefano Gervasoni, Nirmali Fenn, Samantha Fernando, Carlos Duque, Elspeth Brooke and Patrick Nunn.
Ksenija has collaborated with the Brooks String quartet, reaching the final of the 2008 Royal Academy of Music Club Prize and the Royal Overseas League in March 2009, where they were awarded the Elias Fawcett Award for outstanding ensemble.
Recent engagements have included a performance with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonietta Riga, performance of Prokofiev`s Cantata for the 20th Anniversay of the October Revolution op74 with Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre and CBSO under Valery Gergiev, recitals at the Royal Festival Hall and Purcell Room (Southbank Centre), Colston Hall (Bristol), debut recital at the Lucerne Festival and other festivals in UK, France, Switzerland, Italy and Latvia. In June 2009 Ksenija was invited by Dame Felicity Lott to appear in her Carte Blanche in the programme Un Mardi idéal on Radio France Musique. She has also appeared on the radio and television in UK and her native Latvia.
More highlights include a collaboration with the Belcea quartet, recording with the Sacconi quartet, Milos Karadaglic (guitar), Avi Avital (mandolin), appearance on Nicola Benedetti’s CD “The Silver Violin”, solo recital at the Purcell Room, appearances with Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Trondheim Soloists, Sinfonietta Riga, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Latvian National Opera Orchestra, debut recitals at the Lucerne and Davos Festivals in Switzerland, Bergen International Festival and Vinterfestspill i Bergstaden (Røros) in Norway, Lingotto Musica in Turin (Italy), SXSW (Austin, Texas), Riga Festival and Cesis Arts Festival (Latvia) and concerts in the UK at North Norfolk Festival, Two Moors Festival and Chester Music Festival.
Future engagements include performances at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Rheinghau Music Festival, appearances with Trondheim Soloists.
Ksenija is a keen promoter of her instrument and she has continuously done outreach work at Primary schools across the UK with the support of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
Ksenija is generously supported by Mr and Mrs David Bowerman.