Thursday, January 08, 2009

Concert for Wind Machines!

.. and a few other instruments! Last night as promised back here we went to see Bychkov, London Voices and the National Youth Orchestra perform at the Bridgewater Hall. Somewhat of an indulgent evening (especially for me!).
It started with Peter Wiegold's Bow Wave - inspired by the Berio Sinfonia - parts for celtic harp and accordion, megaphones and a somewhat unconventional arrangement of performers. In enjoyed the interaction between the solo violin and the accordion, the feeling of a great ocean liner was certainly conjoured up - I think there were (a la Berio) some quotes - at least the frequent brass motif was a distorted form of something I know - but I haven't yet remembered what! Plenty of challenge of the performers. (Maybe I should mention the wind machine!)
Then to the Berio, I've never seen this live before - and we were about 4 rows from the front and got a splendid view of London Voices. I really entered into the pain of second movement something I'd not registered before with the soprano keening in memory of Luther King who was the inspiration for this movement. The third movement with its commentary on a movement from Mahler 2 was fun as ever but I still need more listening to grasp the final movement. There's a picture of the front of Bychkov's copy of the score here with doodles by Berio!
(I don't think the Berio has a part for wind machine but it does have 4 harps)
And then to the whipped cream - Strauss's Alpine Symphony, grossly over indulgent but such fun. Just when I was thinking the coda was outstaying its welcome comes that lovely final thought on muted violins. Another piece with a downward scale as the theme which lingers in the mind.(Wind machine here too and 5 harps and more brass than you can shake a baton at!)

Preview of the Birmingham concert of the same works is here, and here's a Guardian review of that concert (nearly as sketchy as mine!

Got to the station to discover that trains had been replaced by buses from Stockport so we had a rather long evening!

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