Posted by Aaron Holloway-Nahum »
The BBC Symphony Orchestra Total Immersion series gives London audiences the opportunity to spend a day engaging with the music of a specific composer or part of the world. The double-feature concerts are supplemented with films and education projects in the Barbican Centre, and are an innovative approach to developing a wider audience with a deeper appreciation for the full breadth of contemporary music. The second of this year’s immersion days, Sounds from Japan, took place on Saturday 2nd February, 2013. The 1:00 PM concert at LSO St. Luke’s featured the Guildhall Chamber Ensemble and conductor Sian Edwards performing music of Toru Takemitsu, Jō Kondō, and Dai Fujikura.
Conductor Sian Edwards (photo credit: Katie Vandyck)
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On January 17th, Claire Chase celebrated the arrival of her new CD, Terrestre (earthly in French, Ed.). The setting was Le Poisson Rouge, and the ambience was set smoothly before a single note was played, as the room was lit primarily by swaths of cool blue lights and warm red ones, in a jagged pattern. The house was packed, and the crowd was eclectic, as twenty-somethings, hipsters, and the baby-boomers were all well represented.
Starting the evening off was Glacier, a minimalist piece written by Dai Fujikura for solo bass flute. The bass flute is not often seen or heard, and after seeing and hearing Chase play it, one wonders where this magnificent instrument has been hiding. The piece opened mysteriously on an open fifth, and proceeded like a soliloquy with great expressive range. While the timbre began gently, warm, and with an airy vocal quality, even approaching a plainchant, there was soon much more vigor, with multiphonics, trills, warbling sounds, even honking and blasting at times. The music was divided nicely by carefully measured periods of silence. It ended on a repeating descending tritone, fading away.
Claire Chase - Photograph by Stephanie Berger
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