Encounter Leuchter - Najem Concert Review Article, English

When rain showers upon the glowingly hot Marrakech

Manfred Leuchter and Mohamed Najem fascinate in a concert in “Franz” Aachen. It was a concert of the extra class where two great musicians: Manfred Leuchter (accordion) and Mohamed Najem (clarinet) fascinated their public on two consecutive evenings in their “Encounter” concert in “Franz”: Those who experienced them on stage felt the harmony, the sympathy and the mutual respect transmitted without words between the two. A smile, a nod or a gaze was sufficient enough to exchange signs. Manfred Leuchter, a music traveller in the world with great love to oriental arabesques, moulded together with Najem a concert of amalgamated passions. With brilliant technique and an interpretation full of fantasy, Mohamed Najem resounds the clarinet and echoes it in all its facets to cheer moan and sigh, a refinement that is rare to hear. 

Najem sinks deep in the melody and develops it further so as to surface back at some stage to Leuchter with a side glace and the accordion becomes a leading instrument. Leuchter digs deep in the harmonies and enchants a variety of moods and modes. Somehow the transmitted feeling is: We have two extraordinary artists that have all the time of the world to develop together their musical ideas.

On encounters and farewells Leuchter speaks with pleasure on his encounters while traveling the world. He speaks about farewells that already begin when he is warmly welcomed in a circle of musicians on a strange stage somewhere. He often integrates this melancholic experience into his new compositions so as to preserve it. He dedicates especially fine engraved piece of music to the rain showers falling on the glowingly hot Marrakech, where Leuchter lived for some years. Hesitant rain drops are then spelled by Najem on his clarinet then the rain began to sweep and a delightful breath goes through Leuschter’s accordion. Those who share the experience sense the ascending aroma of 1001 nights.

In his perfection as well as sensibility Mohamed Najem, the Palestinian, is the ideal partner for Leuchter. Here, age difference plays no role. His debut CD “Floor Nr.4” that brought him together with Leuchter carries his memories of his home town Ramallah, of friends, of sorrow and joy. His playing of the clarinet reminds of the linkage between cultures, of Jazz and folklore. Both like to cast a small minimalistic theme in the room and then develop it, dramatise it and shape it like a competition to finally fade it with calmness and modesty. Leuchter speaks on wars and violence also in Palestine and report on a burst tour that could have brought him and Najem to Bethlehem region and the Golan.

Both like to use titles that interconnect them, for Ramallah there are tow compositions and one could see on Najem the homesickness, melancholy, also the joy of being understood within the encounter. In between a little bit of Organology: The accordion was popular in the 40s 50s and 60 in the orient yet many people don’t know that said Leuchter. Finally, Najem plays the Nay, a flute from the Arabic-Persian music tradition and awakes new associations with his instrument. With Bach and Handel proofs Leuchter that even a choir or a Baroque-aria are possible on the accordion, on his accordion. Standing ovations They took their listeners on an unusual journey through the Orient: Accordionist Manfred Leuchter and the Palestinian clarinettist Mohamedd Najem., Picture Andreas Steindl.
Translated by: Khaled Al-Khateeb 

German Follows: