Usually when people think of classical music, they think of performers in tuxedos in a concert hall performing “boring” music of dead musicians. Established seven years ago in the Berlin club scene, Yellow Lounge attempts to change this by breaking all the rules in the classical music rule book, and bringing classical music into the trendy clubs across the world. And this is what Yellow Lounge Singapore did on Friday, 18 Oct 2013.
Organised by Universal Music Singapore, this Yellow Lounge event was held at Zouk and features 23-year old Lithuanian Accordionist Martynas Levickis who has recently released an epynomous album in the UK. Universal Music Singapore made this a free event – you just have to get an invite via their “Yellow Lounge” Facebook page and I decided to see what it’s all about. I am not a clubber myself, but I’d like to see what a classical performance in a club setting is like.
Arriving a Zouk Singapore for only the second time in my life (the first being to shoot a friend’s dance performance a decade ago), I was surprised they were playing classical music over their sound system, something most people will not expect.
It started a bit late, but Martynas eventually appeared on stage with his accordion, playing Johannes Brahms’s Hungarian Dance No. 5. He then walked down the stage and up a little platform in front, to a thrilled audience around him.
The rest of the performance has him playing several other well-known classical pieces such as the Harbenera from Bizet’s opera, “Carmen”. He has also mashed it up with a tango piece, La Cumparsita by Uruguayan musician Gerardo Matos Rodriguez. On stage accompanying him is Singaporean Guitarist Ivan Lim. Unfortunately, the guitarist only plays an accompanying role in the performances. It’s have been much more interesting to have them play a duet, possibly even with an electric guitar. That’d surely spice things up quite a bit.
Martynas also played tango pieces such as Por Una Cabeza by Carlos Gardel. The piece was featured in several movies, notably in Scent of a Woman.
The first set of the performance ends with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca, from his Piano Sonata No. 11. It’s quite interesting to see Martynas play the repetitive parts with by vibrating the accordion, and in so doing, his head and curly hair as well.
During the intermission, DJ Haihm mixes recordings of Martynas’s pieces with dance/club tracks (sorry, I can’t tell). Martynas soon returns to the stage with his second set, performing pieces like Astor Piazolla’s Libertango and Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Air” from his Orchestral Suite No. 3, better known as the “Air on G String”.
Martynas’s passion in playing is palpable in his performances, and you can see how deeply absorbed he can get in it.
Alas, good things always have to come to an end, and soon it was time for his last piece. After addressing the audience, he played Lady Gaga’s Telephone, a song that most people would be familiar with. It’s amazing what he can do with his accordion, effortlessly playing all the various genres of music.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself in the concert and was also glad that photography isn’t banned. I also liked the fact that, being in a more casual/open environment, I was able to shoot with a small camera + prime lens (Nikon V1 + 18.5mm f/1.8).
Thanks to Universal Music Singapore/Yellow Lounge for the excellent concert. I had a blast.
Hope to see more of such events in the future.