Gig Review:
Berlin & Paris Cabaret
Alexandra Yaron, voice; Matthew Freeman, piano; Eddie Hession, accordion
The Spitz, Old Spitalfields Market, London E1
Tuesday, 25th November 2003, 8.45 pm
Photo of Alexandra Yaron
The magnificent Alexandra Yaron
All photos this page by Richard A. Sharma and Copyright © Richard A. Sharma 2003. All rights reserved. Any reproduction, copying, or storage by any means whatsoever including but not limited to electronic/digital means without written prior permission prohibited. Linking to individual photographs on this page prohibited.

The Jewish Music Institute Presents
Berlin & Paris Cabaret
Alexandra Yaron, voice; Matthew Freeman, piano; Eddie Hession, accordion
The Spitz, Old Spitalfields Market, 109 Commercial Street, London E1
Tuesday, 25th November 2003 8.45 pm

Feat.
Alexandra Yaron - voice
Matthew Freeman - piano
Eddie Hession - accordion

Photo of Alexandra Yaron, with Matthrew Freeman
Alexandra Yaron, with Matthew Freeman, piano, at left in background


Programme


 1. Swindle - Mischa Spoliansky
 2. L'Heure Bleue - Mischa Spoliansky
 3. Die Braut - Mischa Spoliansky
 4. The Smart Set - Mischa Spoliansky
 5. The Beauty of the Village (Die Dorf Schoene) - Werner Richard Heymann
 6. By the Canals (An den Kanaelen) - Werner Richard Heymann
 7. Irgendwo auf der Welt - Werner Richard Heymann
 8. Muenchhausen - Friedrich Hollaender
 9. The Jews are all to blame - Friedrich Hollaender
10. I am a Vamp! - Mischa Spoliansky

Interval

11. Seeraeuber Jenny - Kurt Weill
12. Barbara Song - Kurt Weill
13. Moon of Alabama - Kurt Weill
14. September Song - Kurt Weill
15. Padam, Padam - Norbert Glanzberg
16. L'Accordeoniste - Michel Emer
17. Accordion Solo
18. Ne me quitte pas - Jacques Brel
19. Amsterdam - Jacques Brel



Date of Review: 2003/11/26


Link Button - Top of Page


Come To The Cabaret!

Photo of Alexandra Yaron, with Eddie Hession
Alexandra Yaron, with Eddie Hession, accordion


Alexandra Yaron
is an extraordinary singer who would have been as at home in the cabarets of Berlin or Paris of the first half of the 20th century as a fish in water. Having studied singing at Boston's New England Conservatory and completed her Master's at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Ms. Yaron has specialised in Cabaret and Yiddish song. Her current presentations particularly focus on the music of Mischa Spoliansky and Werner Richard Heymann. The contribution of Jewish composers and songwriters to cabaret song and chansons was a vital one, and Spoliansky and Heymann were Berlin's foremost cabaret composers/writers and indeed one could go as far as saying that without them the genre of the cabaret song would probably never have blossomed as it did. It is therefore most gratifying that a young singer such as Alexandra Yaron should breathe new life into this form and the work of some of its greatest songwriters and do so with greatest authenticity, style and aplomb.


Photo of Alexandra Yaron

The tables and seats at The Spitz filled up almost alarmingly for a Tuesday night as the time for Alexandra Yaron's performance drew near. Of delicate, even fragile appearance, Ms. Yaron nonetheless looked every bit her part as she took to the stage and took command, and surprised with a huge voice, powerful, expressive and effortless. The repertoire of her facial expressions and body language matched that of her vocal powers every step of the way and was sheer joy to behold. Yes, this could just as well have been decadent Berlin in the 1920s or 30s!

Singing comfortably in German, English and French, Ms. Yaron's diction was perfection itself, with that precise, sharp delineation so characteristic of the greatest cabaret singers of the past. Her singing was such that she even made the usually coarse and clumsy sounding German language sound poetic.

Photo of Alexandra Yaron

Link Button - Top of Page

For the first half of her programme, Alexandra Yaron was more than ably accompanied on upright piano by Matthew Freeman, while for the second half they were joined by Eddie Hession's wonderful accordion. Mischa Spoliansky and Werner Richard Heymann songs provided the main focus of the first half of the presentation. From the outset, Alexandra Yaron set a standard with Spoliansky's Swindle that seemed almost impossible to sustain. Sensuous, sensitive, gutsy, raunchy, romantic, satirical, sarcastic, tender, Ms. Yaron's voice was all these in turn as each song demanded, with total conviction. In the best tradition of cabaret, the emotional expressiveness was even further enhanced by her dramatic, yet never overly so, powers of facial expression and body language. But not only did Alexandra Yaron sustain the amazing standard she had set, indeed she kept on raising it and excelling all through her spellbinding performance. While each song was an event in itself, how could anyone possibly ever forget Ms. Yaron's spirited rendition of Hollaender's Muenchhausen, torn between anger and tenderness, accusation and languor, or the seething sarcasm of the same songwriter's satirical The Jews are all to blame (set to the Habanera from Bizet's Carmen). And just when you think, where could she possibly take it from here, Alexandra Yaron closes the first set with yet another high point in the form of Spoliansky's I am a Vamp! And I'm sure we were all utterly convinced of Ms. Yaron's assertion.

Photo of Alexandra Yaron

Photo of Alexandra Yaron

Photo of Alexandra Yaron
Moody and magnificent - Alexandra Yaron wows the crowd at The Spitz

Photo of Alexandra Yaron
Photo of Alexandra Yaron

Photo of Alexandra Yaron

Photo of Alexandra Yaron
The many spectacular moods of Alexandra Yaron - that's Cabaret!


The second set mainly shifted a couple of decades forward and was shared between Kurt Weill and French chansons. Weill's Seeraeuber Jenny, although one of his two most widely performed songs (the other being Mack The Knife), is one that seems to make peculiar demands on performers, demands that sadly few seem to fully meet. It was therefore even more of a treat to hear Alexandra Yaron's outstanding interpretation, presented not only with conviction but all the various qualities this song demands and then some. Michel Emer's L'Accordeoniste was yet another highlight among highlights. Eddie Hession's excellent accordion solo provided a lighter touch to contrast with the otherwise sustained high emotion, before the closing two Jacques Brel songs. At this point, one could have been forgiven for wondering where Ms. Yaron could possibly find any more stops to pull out, but goodness, this chanteuse extraordinaire seemed to have no difficulty in pulling out yet more. Ne me quitte pas and Amsterdam were a triumph and practically brought the house down, as did the encore.

Photo of Alexandra Yaron, Eddie Hession
Alexandra Yaron, with Eddie Hession, button accordion

Alexandra Yaron's Berlin & Paris Cabaret was an exciting and wonderful show, a true entertainment in the best cabaret traditions. Whether you know the songs, or some of them, or even any of them, or not, Alexandra Yaron's spectacular cabaret show is a must for anybody in search of an evening's great musical entertainment. (Keep an eye on the Jewish Music UK Calendar page for future dates.) It is certainly to be hoped that there will be no shortage of future dates for this spectacular show.

 

NB - Alexandra Yaron also holds workshops and master classes on cabaret; contact the Jewish Music Institute, SOAS, University of London.

A CD, Irgendwo Auf Der Welt..., containing many of the songs featured in this review is also available and can be found at Alexandra Yaron's web site.

 

© 2003 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.

Photo of Alexandra Yaron Photo of Alexandra Yaron with Eddie Hession Photo of Alexandra Yaron

Link Button - Top of Page

All original content except where stated otherwise © Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore.
All rights reserved.

All original art, web design and realisation, except where stated otherwise, by Logo - scarlet Eyebis . All rights reserved.