Création pour jazzband et orchestre, Faubourg 23, commande du BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Pièce pour jazzband et orchestre commandée à Fiona par le BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Faubourg 23 est créée au Hoddinot Hall de Cardiff et diffusée en live le 18 octobre sur BBC Radio 3.

Critique :

New concerto for jazz quartet and orchestra a triumph in Cardiff, Seen and Heard International, 20/10/2023

What we were actually presented with was a full-scale single-movement concerto for jazz quartet (including solo violin) and orchestra. It lasted some half an hour, and covered a wide range of moods and episodes. And it worked superbly.

We began with an almost filmic opening, an impressionist wash of violin colour verging on the realm of Mantovani. That led into a pianistic rhapsody. Pianist Auxane Cartigny was joined slowly by the double-bassist Zacharie Abraham and the percussionist Philippe Maniez. The three men were isolated at the front of the stage. It was only after a considerable time that Fiona Monbet laid down her baton, picked up her amplified violin and bow, and joined the other three to make up a full jazz quartet. The orchestra participated in the development of the material in a series of episodes both lyrical and rhythmic, and even the police whistle made a reappearance.
Towards the end, the original trio had an extended and largely unaccompanied cadenza, with some particularly subtle combinations of colours. Next, the orchestra emerged with a Sibelius-like sunrise followed by a gloriously off-beat dance with a panache that reminded me of the giddy waltz from Khachaturian’s Masquerade. With yet another side-slip, this moved into the field of Irish dance.

The concerto – for that is clearly what it is – came to a cheeky conclusion in which Monbet’s amplified violin competed in duet with the orchestral leader Lesley Hatfield. The sizeable audience greeted this conclusion with a roar of acclamation and a standing ovation, both fully deserved.

Paul Corfield Godfrey