Friday, 24 June 2016
Psappha ensemble - Crumb / Carter / Reich in concert (2016)
Taking their name from a Xenakis percussion work, the Psappha contemporary music ensemble are based in Manchester, and so were performing on home turf here for a fantasic programme taking in three great American composers of the 20th century. George Crumb's Quest (completed 1994), for percussion, harp, double bass, soprano sax and solo guitar opens the proceedings on an eerie, understated note, sounding like a guitarist trying to practice in a haunted orchestra pit.
The Crumb work is the definite highlight of the concert for me; Eliot Carter's Triple Duo (1982-3) that follows is a bit less accessible, with complex tangles of duo parts interweaving and sometimes clashing with each other, but it's still a fascinating listen and worth perservering with. Lastly, Psappha turn in an energetic, swinging performance of Steve Reich's Double Sextet (2007) - doubled in this instance by the fact that it's being played live to a recording of itself. I don't always get as much out of latter-day Reich as I do from his 70s-80s work, but this is an enjoyable listen and closes the evening perfectly.
Crumb / Carter / Reich in concert, 7 January 2016.
Bonus Public Service Announcement
I always intended to keep this blog strictly apolitical...
I am proud to be Scottish today (and half Northern Irish by parentage).
Music still transcends all boundaries - any English or Welsh visitors to this blog, I bear you no ill will, and don't intend to enact any petty boycotts, either in the music I buy or music I post here.
I think we all know deep down though that the flag that united our four countries for so long will, within most of our lifetimes, only be seen in museums. I say that with neither glee nor sorrow, just a simple statement of inevitability.
That is all - thanks