Two internationally-acclaimed artists, Nigel Kennedy and Damian Draghici, performed for the first time ever together, on Sunday, May 8, in the “Classical Meets Jazz” concert, in Bucharest’s Constitution Square, enchanting the approximately 2,000 people who defied the cold and rain to watch them. The concert, coming exactly ten years after Damian’s Fire, started with the song “Avant de mourir” (Georges Boulanger) and was, just as the two artists had promised, an original dialogue between classical music and jazz, between the “Lafont Guarneri” violin and the electro-acoustic pan flute, between the international repertoire and Romanian inter-war music, spiced with jokes and good cheer. “I want this concert to have a genuine artistic effect on you, I want you to go home and go on thinking about it for days,” was the message Damian Draghici had for his audience, in what was announced, in the pre-event conference, was to be his farewell concert. The two artists were accompanied, on the concert-event stage, by an orchestra made of Romanian and foreign instrumentalists, a “taraf” and 100 violins.
Alongside Georges Boulanger, the concert included highly original renditions of pieces from the repertoire of the great Romanian musicians, the likes of George Enescu, Maria Tanase, Grigoras Dinicu, Fanica Luca and Dinu Lipatti. The virtuoso technique of Nigel Kennedy, whom Draghici presented as “a very good friend, highly passionate about Romanian music”, his unique talent and his non-conformist appearance on stage proved, on Sunday night, that new pathways are opening for both the classical and the contemporary repertoire. On the other hand, the electro-acoustic pan flute, the fruit of Damian Draghici’s ten year-research, made Sunday’s performance a complete one.
Thus, for the first time an electro-acoustic pan flute was joined to an effects box – and the result was an unforgettable experience, that only those present could fully relish. Indeed, each song, each pan flute or electric violin solo, each duet of the two instruments, to a faultless accompaniment, marked one high point after another. Although “Ederlezi” was announced as the last song, the surprise of the evening was to follow – with Madalin Voicu Jr on the piano, alongside the taraf and the two soloists, the stage was invaded, from both sides, by dozens of violinists – a total of 100 – and the madness of violins began. “Classical Meets Jazz” marked Europe Day and was organized by Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR) and the Bright Light Foundation, in partnership with ArCuB. (A.B.)