You are invited to be part of the audience in the underground Cathedral Cavern (Australia) - reputed for the purest acoustics in the world. All tracks are live recordings of the performances from 2004-2007 by the Paganini Duo with fiery Gypsy violinist Gustaw Szelski and superb accompanier Georg Mertens on guitar or cello. College violinist Steve Collins tells about Gustaw Szelski at the Sydney Conservatorium: "He was envied for his incredibly beautiful sound. Like all of us he was asked to do auditions for training purposes, but in difference to us he got a position on the spot."
Here are selected the most spellbinding traditional Gypsy tunes and dances from Hungary, Romania and Russia, added to these spontaneous improvisations, bursting of energy.
Georg says about the compositions and improvisations:
"The compositions speak for themselves: strong traditional music. A comment should be made to the 'Underground Improvisations'. We have a tradition that we agree upon, who starts and what will be the last note. Everything else is left to chance - luck and accident. For us it is an adrenalin journey into the unknown, enjoying total spontaneity. Every time it turns out completely different. People don't believe there is no preconceived structure, but there isn't. We know each other well and we never practice the improvisation; we hardly even talk about it - it would take the pepper and salt out of it. We need the audience as a stimulant to make it work."
1 Czardas (Vittorio Monti)
2 The Anniversary Valse (Iosif Ivanovici)
3 Son of Puszta (Kela Bela)
Gustaw: Abandoned (Traditional Hungarian)
Georg: Underground Improvisation - Bilbao (Szelski-Mertens)
You find the Homepage of the Paganini Duo and the calendar of our concerts at Jenolan Caves on the linked website: www.georgcello.com
On the website you can also watch film clips of their spectacular underground concerts.
You find on this website also a page with the guitar sheet music of Czardas.
To the title:
"Thanks for An Hour in Heaven" - these were the words - quietly spoken - of a visitor after our concert on 26th March 2005. He bowed slightly and shook our hands. We decided this one was a perfect title of our next CD.
The Paganini Duo performed together since 1989 in various ensembles, including 'The Blue Mountains Trio' and 'The Tarantella Trio'.
As The Paganini Duo they released in 1997 their first CD 'Blue Mountains Gypsies'.
Polish/Hungarian violinist Gustaw Szelski trained at the Sydney Conservatorium and has played in many of the great Australian orchestras and as back up for artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra, John Denver, Shirley Bassey, Marcia Hines and The Little River Band.
German born Georg Mertens is a virtuoso of cello and guitar, trained at the prestigious Staatliche Hochschule fuer Musik in Freiburg / Germany. He has played hundreds of concerts across Europe and Australia (see also his CD's for guitar and cello solo).
Georg Mertens published on his (here linked) website his ground breaking systematic analysis of bow technique.