The shock of the almost new
Just got in from a concert of central European music at the Albert Hall and it raises some interesting questions, having been a concert of two rather neatly devised halves. The first half was why I was there - Roby Lakatos, who plays a version of traditional gypsy music that includes a sense of the importance of le jazz hot amd which includes some sometimes quite naff covers of classical standards like the Sabre Dance or that Lisz Hugarian rhapsody that everyone actually knows, as well as some fiddle classics like Dinicu's The Lark, which is the Rumanian gypsy piece that isn't Dinicu's Hora Staccata, but sounds rather like it except for the bird impressions int he middle.
The thing is, it all works - Lakatos is an incredible fiddler and all of his band are terrific at what they do, including the second violin and the guy who doubles guitar and cymbalom - which is that sort of spinetish thing you play the Third Man theme on.
The second half was a group called Klezmer Madness, who are in a way far more traditional and far more in touch with their roots, much of the time, and when they played traditional stuff traditionally it was wonderful in spite of non-canonical electric guitar and rather over-miked drums. But of course, when you've got a guitar and drums, sooner or later people want to show of their chops, and if there are two musical styles that turn out not to blend, they are prog rock circa 1970 and traditional klezmer; I nearly walked out in headachey irritation before they went back to what I wanted to hear.
Point is - Lakatos are essentially impure, multistylistic and so on, whereas KM are very trad except when they are not. Why do I like one so much more than the other and do other people have, other things being equal, similar problems?