Deadmen's Folk

Summerhayes & Grainger

Yesterday's music for tomorrow Contact
"Heady stuff... thrilling virtuoso playing." Gramophone
Put on this exciting music and you'll be transported... a mix of Django Reinhardt and Jascha Heifetz, gypsy music and jazz. The most obvious point of contact with the classical repertory is with The Lark, traditionally associated with Dinicu but here heard in Summerhayes's more up-to-date arrangement. It's heady stuff, with some thrilling virtuoso playing. To quote artistic director Chris Grist's accompanying note: "You'll hear funky grooves, mesmerising, deeply beautiful melodies, and sometimes tunes that are just plain fun." I guess we do, and there are effective contrasts of major and minor that typify the folk music of Eastern Europe. I especially enjoyed the instrumental colour, cumulative excitement and sheer abandon of Firefly, an original Summerhayes composition. Swifts in Flight is another winner in the same style, and between times the contrasts of Summerhayes's invention are brought home by the plaintive, hypnotic wailing melody of Caravan. I'd love to be dining in a Budapest restaurant while this music is being played... it provides exciting listening. Andrew Lamb  Chandos ® CHAN1O453 (45' • DOD)

"A sultry success... ideal for dark days."
A chamber-music homage to tango great Astor Piazzolla is a sultry success, writes Fiona Maddocks Two northern composer-performers here pay homage to a southern genius, the Argentinian Astor Piazzolla, combining numbers by the master with their own tango-inspired creations. Violinist Adam Summerhayes, leader of the London Concertante, has always mixed chamber music with gypsy. Jazz pianist David Gordon, a mathematician by training, has worked with Nigel Kennedy and also plays baroque harpsichord. Gordon's Augmented Tango (2008) lurches boisterously in seven beats. Summerhayes's poignant El Desposeido (2001) journeys from a whisper to a roar. Their joint piece, Milonga Bourgeois, explores the art of fugue, hot Latin style. Ideal for dark days.


"Stunningly virtuostic... incredible facility and control."
...The album features compositions by Adam Summerhayes, the group’s stunningly virtuosic leader, and by it's guest jazz pianist and harpsichordist David Gordon. The writing features many solos, and allows Summerhayes many opportunities to display his incredible facility and control of the topmost register. Yet, despite all the bravura, he always sounds as if he were improvising rather than merely showing off. This disc is a must both for lovers of Latin music and of singularly spectacular string playing. —Edith Eisler

Review in "All Things Strings" magazine US. Piazzolla and Beyond,  London Concertante. (Harmonia Mundi)

In the classical world, Astor Piazzolla was a one-off... London Concertante perform six of his works alongside four new compositions by their violinist leader Adam Summerhayes and pianist/composer David Gordon. If you’re susceptible to tango overload then it probably isn’t for you, but you’d missing out on a riveting, dramatic, even sexy listen (and how often do you read that word in a classical review?) ...the percussive effects are created with their bows and fiddles, and the result is electric...As for the new works, they’re a perfect fit, whether in close stylistic homage such as Summerhayes’ sombre When Churchyards Yawn, or a step further away such as Gordon’s Augmented Tango
The final track, Summerhayes’ El Desposeido, is an “exercise in the compositional art of crescendo” that works reflections of the opening Libertango towards a devastating and gripping climax. London Concertante demonstrates extraordinary versatility for a classical ensemble, with a sound that would feel as appropriate in a smoky jazz bar or Argentine tango club as it would in a concert hall. Their skill is summed up in Michaelangelo 70, a dramatic performance of feather-light virtuosity that is so tightly together that it would feel inhuman if there weren’t so much soul in the playing.

(Charlotte Gardner BBC online)