Review on Vanessa-Mae live at the Westonbirt Arboretum

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Review on Vanessa-Mae live at the Westonbirt Arboretum

Post by Xanthippe »

I made my review about Vanessa-Mae's concert of Saturday July 18 of 2009 at the Westonbirt Arboretum available at my website.

It has become quite a long story that besides about Vanessa-Mae, also tells about the role of National Symphony Orchestra and of the All Angles.

The review can be found at Vanessa-Mae at the westonbirt Arboretum

The program of the evening was as follows:

Introduction by the orchestra with an unknown piece and music by Gershwin -

- The All Angels: opera medley of 4 pieces -

- Main concert Vanessa-Mae first part with the following-

- Sabre Dance -
- Havana Slide -
- Speech by Vanessa-Mae -
- Roxannes Veil -
- Bolero for violin and orchestra -
- Tango de Los Exilados -
- Solace -
- Tribal Gathering -

----- break -----

- Introduction by orchestra to part 2 with -
- intro with an unknown piece -
- Fantasy on British sea songs, including Rule Britannia -

- The All angels: Gershwin medley of 3 songs and The Sounds Of Silence -

- Main concert by Vanessa-Mae part 2 with the following -

- electric set on Zeta violin -
- Contradanza -
- Short speech by Vanessa-Mae -
- Hocus Pocus -
- Laughing Buddha -

- Short speech by Vanessa-Mae and continuing acoustically with the following -

- I Am A Doun -
- Emerald Tiger -
- Retro -
- Speech by Vanessa-Mae to introduce the final 2 songs -
- Toccata & Fugue -
- Storm, including fireworks launched from behind the stage -

About Vanessa-Mae's part:

Vanessa-Mae's concert
Vanessa-Mae did her part of the concert in 2 sets - see the program above. Her show was more or less an normal Choreography tour concert, see our reviews of her concerts in London (October 2004), Dresden (February 2005), and Hamburg (July 2007). The consequence is that Vanessa-Mae left a few pieces out that she normally includes in concerts, like Bach Street Prelude, Destiny, Red Hot, Picante and Pasha. All in all, this means that it was 2 years ago that I did see her live in concert for the last time. I felt the excitement intensely for this new opportunity in this unique open air setting with additional music by the National Symphony Orchestra and the All Angles. Looking around and having talked to several people, I was convinced that everyone was really looking forward to her appearance. I had my camera at hand and waited when she would arrive on stage.

At about 8:30 pm, The All Angels announced that their part before the break was finished and that Vanessa-Mae would now start with her main concert of the evening. Vanessa-Mae's band appeared on stage and did some short tuning of their instruments. Then, Vanessa-Mae appeared on stage and the show began. The concert was very good. Vanessa-Mae played energetically and with passion, as did her band and the accompanying orchestra. However, the cold and humid weather conditions severely hampered keeping the instruments tuned. Especially Vanessa-Mae's leading role as solo violinist was greatly influenced, as she was constantly struggling, and due to her great experience and technique, she managed well. However Vanessa-Mae got out of tune several times, on her acoustic Guadagnini, but certainly on the white Zeta violin during the short electric leg immediately after the break. The audience did not blame Vanessa-Mae, as all recognised that she was working hard and was playing passionately to the best she could under these conditions.

First about Vanessa-Mae, about her looks and physical presentation. Vanessa-Mae appeared on stage wearing a spectacular knee length crème to silver shining dress with lots of sparkling beads and ornaments embroidered on the garment. The dress had no sleeves, but strings from the shoulder part were tied to Vanessa-Mae's arm at her elbows with bows. Vanessa-Mae's hair was specially styled, strongly pulled away form her face, divided in 3 parts: in the middle tied in a tail hanging on her back, and form the left and right side of her head tied together in tight strings. Because Vanessa-Mae's hair was strongly pulled out of her face, it was obvious, looking through my 300 zoom, that she was heavily made up: matt toned smooth flawless complexion with crème and powder with only a light touch of bronze blush high on the cheek bones, pinkish red lipstick, a small line of dark shadow on her upper lids that was fading towards the eye brows, and lashes so accentuated with mascara that the threw shadows underneath the eyes by the incidence of the spot lights.The series of 10 photos below show details of Vanessa-Mae's dress, hair style, and make-up, especially when zooming in. At least, the original full sized photos (app. 4-5 Mb) reveal these details well. the photos presented in this review were reduced in size significantly.

Vanessa-Mae was on elegant red open shoes with, of course, high spike heels. The 3 photos below show that Vanessa-Mae was able to move and walk with litheness on these spike heeled shoes.

Then about the concert, the music. Vanessa-Mae played a program more or less equal to a regular Choreography Tour concert, though a little limited because the overall playing time for her this evening was less that at one of her own concerts. At the time Vanessa-Mae started to play, it was still daylight, though darkening because of the sombre cloudy weather. The stage was build under a roof of black canvas. She started off with Sabre Dance as she did at all her Choreography Tour concerts. The quality of the sound was good, not too loud but of a pleasant volume, and the various instruments were well recognisable. The next song was Havana Slide that started immediately after the first song ended. Both pieces were played energetically and with passion.

Then Vanessa-Mae addressed the audience. She spook about the fact that it was already several years ago since she last performed in the UK, actually that was in the summer of 2005 at the Henley-On-Thames music festival. She assured all that she was delighted to play again in her own country, the UK. She then thanked the audience for showing up in such large numbers despite the cold and rainy weather. She mentioned that it was now dry and the forecasts showed it would probable stay dry during the show. Vanessa-Mae then introduced the next piece that would slow down the concert, and that was commissioned for her by the famous composer Vangelis and that was used in another version in the movie Alexander as well. she was, of course referring to Roxannes Veil. The 4 photos below show Vanessa-Mae at this address to the audience.

Roxannes Veil is a wonderful piece, and is so well played by Vanessa-Mae, modestly played with so much emotions and feelings. It is a great piece, and I love hear her play it each time again.

The next series of 48 photos shown below were made throughout the concert, showing Vanessa-Mae play a various pieces. Basically, the order of the photos in chronologically.

The next series of 14 photos shown below were shot shortly after each other. The series show Vanessa-Mae at the moment her violin was silenced. notice, how she looks around and the expression on her face of concentration, then a relaxing smile towards one of her musicians, and finally a suggestion of being secretly amused. The series ends when she started playing again, finally ending the song and accepting the grateful reaction of the audience with a obvious satisfaction and enjoying herself.

The program then went forward as usual with The Bolero for violin and orchestra and Tango Des Exilados. Both are spectacular pieces, and were well played and accompanied by the orchestra. The next piece was a quiet one called Solace from the Subject To Change album. This song is always very close to my heart. I remember at the time Subject To Change was released, my mother had just died and my father was seriously ill that this particular song granted me much comfort. The violin part is so expressive, and full of emotions. I love to hear Vanessa-Mae play it each time again. She touches me always with it. Solace is one of my all time favourites.

The final piece before the break was Tribal Gathering, a fantastic piece of music of great complexity. Vanessa-Mae on solo violin combined with full orchestra made me shiver, and the tension expressed in the piece was enormously, as always. Tribal Gathering is a sheer great piece on Vanessa-Mae's repertoire.

After the break, Vanessa-Mae started with a short set of electric pieces on her electric white Zeta violin. The first song was Contradanza from The Violin Player album. It is always great again to hear one of the oldies from her first pop album! Vanessa-Mae then shortly addressed the audience with a introduction to a piece called Hocus Pocus that is on the album Storm. She mentioned that she is really fond of this piece that is so well equipped to feature all her virtuoso musicians one by one. The series of 8 photos below show Vanessa-Mae when she pointed to and named the various musicians one by one.

Then came Laughing Buddha from the album Subject To Change. During this song a particular incident took place that is shown in the series of 11 photos below. During playing Laughing Buddha, Vanessa-Mae is to use a activate pedal switch a few times in order to trigger a certain distortion of her electric violin. During this concert, the switch wasn't operating well, and this caused the distortion to remain absent almost entirely. Vanessa-Mae was definitely not amused by this defect, as could be seen from the annoyed expression on her face. Once the song was ended, Vanessa-Mae apologised for the technical deficiency, saying: I stepped this pedal so often the past years that it needs repair or replacement. She then joked by saying that it was really the switch and then: I am not just a clumsy girl on high heels.

Then Vanessa-Mae spook again to the audience to introduce I Am A Doun that is on The Classical Album 1 and Storm. Vanessa-Mae told us that the next song was her version of the 2nd movement of a violin concerto by Bruch, a concerto that she played often and that remains one of her all time favourites. She mentioned that the song is about a young girl longing for her love on. This version by Vanessa-Mae is a remarkable touching piece of music. The past years, Vanessa-Mae always omits the vocal introduction as it is on the albums: she did so again this evening, but the song has it strength is the lush violin part and Vanessa-Mae expressed that adequately again.

In the meantime, it had become almost dark. After playing Retro, Vanessa-Mae introduced the final 2 pieces that would end her concert. She thanked all for coming in such big numbers, and holding through the cold weather; she thanked the All Angels for their participation in this musical program, and especially she thanked the orchestra and Anthony Inglis. She added to Anthony Inglis that she was so happy to work again with him after their first collaboration with the recording of her very first album Violin (aka Debut) in 1991 when she was aged 12. She then joked to Anthony Inglis saying: you haven't changed after all those years; it is me who has changed!

She then mentioned her next song Toccata & Fugue that is on The Violin Player album, a piece that was in the charts for her world-wide and that represents the start of her career.

After Toccata & Fugue had ceased, her blockbuster hit Storm started immediately, accompanied by spectacular fireworks launched form behind the stage. The 14 photos below show Vanessa-Mae when she played Storm with her characteristic pose towards the end, and subsequent expression of relief and happiness on her face when she received the standing ovation from the audience. Finally, she bowed with the thankful smile still showing on her face.

The final series of photos show the spectacular fireworks that were launched from behind the stage during Vanessa-Mae's performance of Storm.

To read the full story and see all the photos (more than 100) do go to my website via the link provided at the top of this post.

A few photos are shown nelow here:






Last edited by Xanthippe on Sun Sep 06, 2009 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Review on Vanessa-Mae live at the Westonbirt Arboretum

Post by Xanthippe »

I processed the photos in my review with photo editing software like Silkypix and Capture NX2. Especially, I edited white balance and exposure parameters. Teh result is more clear photos that exhibit colours better as they really were that evening. In particular, take a look at Vanessa-Mae's dress that looks more silver like in the edited photos.
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Re: Review on Vanessa-Mae live at the Westonbirt Arboretum

Post by Arioch »

Remember how we all used to worry how thin our
Noodles was getting?
Well she is still just as gorgeous as ever.
Going by these pics she a not got any thinner, she
still looks the same as three years ago.
All she is is fit.
(Lord of Chaos)
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Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2002 11:01 am

Re: Review on Vanessa-Mae live at the Westonbirt Arboretum

Post by eva03 »

Watch her recent videos posted here ... 67&start=0 Looks like she gained weight - maybe just part of ageing? :lol: She doesnt look like 30-something though.
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