Morgan Szymanski delights sell out Haddo audience

Morgan at Haddo 08July2023

On a sunny afternoon in Aberdeenshire on July 8, Haddo House Chapel provided a special and atmospheric venue for a sell-out concert featuring the hugely talented guitarist, Morgan Szymanski. The team at Haddo Arts, whose motto is ‘inspiring artists inspiring you’ certainly found an exceptional musician to deliver a virtuoso performance that entranced us all.

Born in Mexico City in 1979, Morgan took the audience on a wonderful musical journey around South America. The journey began in his homeland with evocative tribute to the music of Valle de Bravo, the village where he grew up in a piece called Danzon No.1, composed by Julio Cesar Oliva.

Stretching back further in time to the traditional folk melodies of Mexico, Morgan played a wonderful, lively Scherzino Mexicano and Estrellita by Manuel Ponce. This was a composer who was inspired by Andres Segovia ,and other musicians like De Falla in Spain, to collect  folk melodies with the aim of ensuring future generations could hear them in years to come.

Cuba featured next with Cancion de Cuna by Leo Brouwer one of the principal ambassadors of its music and this one had a wonderful cinematic quality similar to the work he composed for the film Like Water for Chocolate  by Laura Esquicel. After nod to Cuba, Morgan played four Venezuelan waltzes, inspired by traditional harp playing. These pieces by Antonio Lauro featured some interesting percussive sounds and rhythms based on a four-stringed instrument similar to a ukulele.

A second piece by Leo Brouwer called Danza del Altiplano brought in some different influences, weaving in melodies and rhythms drawn from the tango and folk music from both Chile and Bolivia. The theme was based on a famous song called Viva Jujy about a town in Argentina, which is often heard on the Bolivian pan pipes.

Talented musicians sometimes face a struggle to survive and Morgan chose music by Agustin Barrios Mangore to introduce us to the man who became known as the Paganini of the jungles of  Paraguay.  This was a particularly poignant and wistful composition known as ‘La Ultima Cancion’, the last piece he ever wrote.

From Argentina, we heard a compelling slow tango, in a minor key, by Jorge Cardosa which was dedicated to those people who suffered under the brutal dictatorship of General Pinochet.  This theme was expanded upon in a second interpretation of the tango by Astor Piazzolla which Morgan played with a stylish flourish, finishing off the concert with an encore featuring a lively, melodic burst of energetic tunes, much to the audience’s delight.

On one afternoon in Aberdeenshire, we’d been taken on a spectacular musical journey through the sunny climes of South America and learnt ever more about the diverse musical heritage of a fascinating and historic continent.

And if you want to experience more such amazing performances, make sure you look out for the Haddo Arts Festival which takes place this autumn from 6 – 10  October.  Sign up to their mailing list to be first to hear when tickets go on sale.

Lucy Gordon, 09 July 2023

 

 

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