LIVE REVIEW: Ben Fitzgerald @ The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle (11.07.21) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Sometimes the enjoyment of live music seems to be more about hearing the right sounds, at the right time, in the right venue, than it seems to be about the performance of the musical artist themselves.

Today, for example, on a day which is mostly summery, and buzzes with the excitement that comes from a certain football match later in the evening, Benjamin Fitzgerald’s collection of musical pieces seem to fit perfectly to the moment; subtly telling the audience to “relax, enjoy the weather, enjoy the moment, later will come soon enough.”

Playing across a 45-minute set, which sees Fitzgerald stripped down from his recent (pre-pandemic) large collective to just himself and three string players, his piano-led classical compositions move and weave across expansive musical landscapes, gently evoking reflection and prompting that much needed calmness and stillness.

Supported by his string trio, who alter their playing styles from gentle plucking to movements of complex inter-weaving, Fitzgerald’s calm, emotive piano stays core to the performances melodies; creating textures which fit perfectly with the day, the mood and the surroundings.

Returning back to the larger collective of players in the coming weeks, it’ll be interesting to see how Fitzgerald improves on this 45-minute set and where changes are made to the outfit’s focus and style. It’ll most likely come down to the right sounds and the right venue – something Fitzgerald seems to manage very well.

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