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Beginning in the Southbank in London and travelling all the way to Mareel in Shetland, Mr McFall’s Chamber are performing across the length of the country, exploring the creative fault-lines between the traditional, art-house and popularist. Dancing Under The Shadows, the programme which they will perform at Mareel on Thursday 5 June, explores the music of Eastern European dance bands and sees the ensemble performing with pianist Simon Smith, who has been described as “a phenomenon – nothing daunts him, technically or musically” (The Scotsman).

Robert McFall said: “In the twenties and thirties Argentine tango took the whole world by storm, but nowhere more so than Poland, where songwriters and dance band leaders wrote their own tango numbers and, during the 30’s, developed a specifically Polish style. The lavish nightclub scene in Warsaw and Krakow flourished to the music of these composers, albeit under the shadow of the rise of fascism over the border in Germany.”

Many of the songwriters, composers, bandleaders, singers and musicians, the vast majority of whom were Jewish, were murdered in the death camps. This programme features tango numbers by Artur Gold, Jerzy Petersburski, Fanny Gordon and Zygmunt Wiehler, amongst others. It also includes Grazyna Bacewicz’s first piano quintet, written soon after the war. Bacewicz, leader of the Polish Radio Orchestra from 1936 until 1938, continued to live in Warsaw throughout the war, playing in clandestine concerts as well as for the Main Relief Council.

Mr McFall's Chamber

Mr McFall's Chamber

Mr McFall's Chamber has been described as “the jewel in the Scottish musical crown” (The Scotsman), and lauded as “potentially the most important single development on the Scottish music scene for a long time” (The Herald). The ensemble plays a range of music from tango through jazz and rock to contemporary classical, taking in quite a lot besides. It consists of string quartet, bass, piano, percussion and sometimes vocals - and more as required.

The group was formed in 1996 from a number of players from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Scottish Ballet, with a core group comprising two violins, viola, cello and bass. The group collaborates with additional musicians from project to project – regularly working with additional pianists, percussionists, singers and soloists, depending on the nature of the programme.

The pieces to be performed at Mareel in June are: Grazyna Bacewicz - Piano Quintet - Moderato molto estressivo/ Allegro; Scherzo; Grave; Con Passione (1951) Jerzy Petersburski - Tango Milonga (1928) Artur Gold - Gdzie Twoje Serce? (1930) Fanny Gordon (Faige Jofé) - Skrwarione Serce (1932) Zygmunt Wiehler - Usta (1934) Wiktor Krupinski - Prztul, Uscisnij, Pocaluj (1935) Stanislaw Ferszko - Gdy Odejdziersz (1937)

Tickets for Mr McFall’s Chamber live @ Mareel in June cost £18.50 and are available from Shetland Box Office now.

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