Audience enraptured by this virtuoso from Bulgaria
Neno Koytchev's stunning performance

Neno Koytchev
Neno Koytchev
(in concert)












Neno Koytchev gave his first concert at the festival last night: he comes from the East, where one imagines he's better known than here. He played solo his piano accordion, transporting the audience with delight in a gala performance that will not be forgotten in a hurry.

Mind-blowing is the only word one can use to describe his music. He's about 40, his face set like a marble sculpture. While his fingers somersault over the keys he stares impassively at the audience. There is silence such as that in a cathedral service in the marquee in the theatre forecourt. At the end of his first number, the applause was unusually long and warm for an introductory piece. Neno seemed a little surprised: but the audience were themselves astonished by his performance.

By now we should be used to these gifted players from the East who play so devilishly well on old instruments dating from the Komintern. Last year it was Erik Marchand who brought us Taraf de Caransébès, that extraordinary Tsigane group from Romania. Neno Koytchev is of the same order, but he comes from Bulgaria. He doesn't just play fast; he plays incredibly deftly, and sometimes so lightly you can hardly hear him. Then the music swells back to full volume, with the forcefulness of a herd of bison loose on the plain.

His music is both classical and traditional, and has a richness about it that easily qualifies him as one of those hitherto undiscovered musical talents so eagerly awaited here in France. The festival's management team put Alain Pennec in charge of the festival's accordion concerts, and although these concerts generally attract less people than the big names, they can be wonderfully poignant occasions, with the best possible conditions for appreciating such musical artistry.



Copyright Technopole Quimper Cornouaille France-Ouest 1999