Skip to main content

ECM+ Generation 2012 plus Voltaire and Frederick

I bought tickets for last night's ECM+ Generation 2012 concert, featuring Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, at the NAC 4th Stage in an 'it'll be interesting' frame of mind, and interesting was just the start. A very full 4th Stage for a very entertaining and intruging evening.

In order of performance, the four new works were: Animaris Currens Ventosa by Marielle Groven; Ninavanjali by Gabriel Dharmoo; Beatitude by Riho Esko Maimets; and Jenny's last rock by Annesley Black. Each performance was preceded by a Q&A with host Nicholas Gilbert, who injected the whole evening with humour.

In terms of immediate response, I most enjoyed Beatitude, a concise, intimate and very beautiful concerto for violin and ensemble. Following on from Maimets' explanation, his references to choral music and music of all different time periods were clear. This piece would easily sit alongside more 'traditional' chamber repertoire in a programme.  Maimets also has a Soundcloud page with other works.

Dharmoo's Ninavanjali,  dedicated to Dharmoo's late teacher N Govindarajan, clearly showed the influence of Indian melodic and rhythmic traditions, and was also clearly elegiac towards the end. To my ears there was also an interplay between fun and seriousness. Some of his effects (for want of a better word) included interesting piano passages, bullet-like bursts of rhythm and the wind players of ECM doing something akin to beatboxing with their instruments! Dharmoo's Vimeo page (link above) references other performances.

Of the other 2 works, they were both enjoyable but didn't quite pull me in as much. Animaris Currents Ventosa was incredibly atmospheric but also emanated a somewhat anxious vibe; and Jenny's last rock, although a really interesting concept (a musical representation of curling) with a hilarious introduction by Black, was just a little too conceptual. That said, the visual of ECM conductor Véronique Lacroix energetically keeping time for a tape recorder duet mid-piece was hilarous! More from the Citizen here.

Changing tack somewhat, M and I went to see a performance of the play 'Voltaire and Frederick: A Life In Letters' on Sunday evening courtesy of the German Embassy here in Ottawa (plus, I won 2 tickets in an email competition from the Embassy - further thanks, and hopefully someone from the UK High Commission is taking notes on event planning....). From a stage set of just 2 actors and 2 chairs, the audience at the Ottawa Arts Court Theatre were engrossed in a friendly/antagonistic friendship between the older Voltaire and the younger Frederick, later Frederick II. Highly recommended.   

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Soundscapes at the Barbican: Greg Haines and Ólafur Arnalds

Quite a long-time fan of Ólafur Arnalds, I was pretty excited to get tickets for his 11th March concert at the Barbican Centre with the Britten Sinfonia. Definitely worth the convoluted travel plan (driving to Oxford to get the train - First Great Western seem to think people at the Vale of Evesham/Malvern end of the line don't go out at night...)!
Something of a culture clash early on once the sold out crowd had sat down. Greg Haines, last night's support act, came onstage pretty prompt and after a quick hello to the audience, sat down and proceeded to play for 30 minutes straight. He received fabulous applause, but there was a small amount of coughing and fidgeting going on... A great atmosphere with the auditorium completely dark except for Greg's spotlights (cue reminiscences of Frank Horvat and Timber Timbre) - for most of the 30 minutes I was lost in his soundscape. He started with very ambient-minimalist piano sounds and gradually worked up the layers. I so enjoyed b…

New talent at Southminster

As a follow-on from last weekend's excellent Chopin concert, there is an afternoon of New Artists from the NAC's Summer Music Institute at Southminster United Church on 17th June. Entitled 'Dover Beach and other works for summertime', the concert features new artists Katarzyna Sadej, Emily Nenninger, Drew Santini, Hannah Min, Paul Casey, Karen Kang and Bryan Wagorn. I had the chance to hear Bryan Wagorn at one of University of Ottawa's Concerts at the NAC 4th Stage concerts back in February and thoroughly enjoyed his performance. The proposed programme is very enticing:

MENDELSSOHN   String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 13
MONIUSZKO          Sen  (The Dream)   
                                   Prząśniczka (Spinner Girl)
SZYMANOWSKI    Lecioły Zórazie (The Swans Were Flying)
                                   Ściani Dumbek (The Dark Forest)   
CHOPIN                   Piosnka Litewska (Lithuanian Folksong)
                                   Moja Pieszczotka (My Sweethe…

austraLYSIS and VRi - new music at Leeds

The first few concerts in the new season of events at University of Leeds School of Music have been incredibly varied.
The first concert I saw was from folk band VRi. The string trio performed a mixture of traditional Welsh songs and original compositions. Describing themselves as 'chamber folk', their songs varied from simple voice and accompaniment to foot-tapping energetic numbers (sadly no room for dancing in the Clothworkers' Concert Hall...) exploring Welsh folk but with an art music angle, as well as other folk traditions, with a lot of the music on their new album referencing the Welsh chapel tradition. Absolutely worth a further listen and their music is available on Bandcamp.
Fast forward a week to something altogether different. austraLYSIS: Torbjörn Hultmark & Roger Dean with soprano trombone, piano and live electronics. Riveting to watch their live electronics! I really enjoyed the piece about Metamorphosis for Time and Space - dots, lines, ?, volume - sound…