Sunday, 16 October 2016

UK Premiere at London's King's Place

On 23rd of October of this year, Sara Trickey (violin), Sarah-Jane Bradley (viola), Tim Lowe (cello) and John Lenehan (piano) – all members of the well-known British ensemble The Sound Collective, will present an interesting programme at London’s King’s Place, including a UK premiere:


 

The ‘Trio for Strings’ is taking Viennese classicism as a point of departure, adding later elements to its idiom. It has been played various times before, but never in the UK. Former performances, of which I will not mention the ensembles for reasons of discretion, suffered from insufficient rehearsel time, because - for a new piece - the score looks 'classically simple', i.e. no sevens against fives, or 10 notes in the time of 8 in a 12/8 metrum, neither overgrowth of special effects which need extensive performance manuals, nor theatricals or electronics - inviting performers to think that preparation will be relatively easy and doesn't need much rehearsel time so that most of the attention can go to the canonic pieces of the programme which are known to the audience and thus, where the performance could be measured against known performances and recordings. But then, for instance - a thought experiment - rehearsing an unknown classical piece, say: by Haydn or Mozart, let alone Beethoven, would not be easy at all, in spite of the 'classical look' of the score; the level of musical narrative and expression is different from the level of the notation. In fact, one of the most difficult composers to perform, especially in chamber music, is Mozart, because of its seeming simplicity in terms of notation.

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Addendum 26/10/16:

The concert was a success, not only my piece but the Beethoven Trio and the Brahms piano quartet as well, excellent and dedicated players. Some positive reactions also from collegues who had been curious for this UK première; one of them - a well-known and respectable composer with much more experience with performances than me - compared the piece with late Beethoven but '...written in an original and compelling way'. The danger is, of course, when influences from the classical repertoire play a role, to fall into pastiche, but in this case it could be avoided. The point is: handling a musical language while saying your own thing in it, as with real language.

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