While this reporter was not quite sturdy enough to make it through the entire seven-hour evening, there were many notable highlights during the first few hours of the IMPULS Festival Marathon Concert on Monday, February 18, 2013, in Graz, Austria, in addition to those already cited in this journal in Blending the Auditory with the Visual. The evening featured an impressive group of young performers playing pieces from the contemporary music cannon, as well as newer compositions from the composer participants at the festival.
The evening opened with two exceptionally skilled performances. Victor Barceló tackled Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Zyklus (1959) for solo percussionist with great aplomb. Next was Valentina Štrucelj’s superb clarinet solo on Giacinto Scelsi’s Kya for B clarinet & 7 instruments (1959). Štrucelj elicited maximum resonance from her instrument through the tricky piece, and the ensemble blended well throughout.
In the second section, Štrucelj performed Matthias Kranebitter’s intense ringelreigen, 16,9g CO2 (2010) for bass clarinet and electronics, matching well the force of Kranebitter’s electronic onslaught. Mitya Vlassik gave a focussed performance of Brian Ferneyhough’s Bone Alphabet (1991), capturing the tiny gestures needed to navigate the miniature percussion world created for this piece. Idil Turgut, oboe, was accompanied by four people playing wine glasses in the ethereal Marsias for Oboe and Wineglasses (1982) by Mario Lavista. The audience was caught off-guard and the room filled with giggles at the fantastic sounds made by Simone Telandro in his lovely performance of Kryl for solo trumpet (1977) by Robert Erickson. The trumpet lines are interspersed with both pitched and non-pitched vocalizations, keeping a brisk rhythm and exploring a range of extended techniques in this challenging piece.
By far, from my admittedly abbreviated experience, the most standout performance of the evening was given by Sini Simonen, a violinist from Finland, performing Luciano Berio’s Sequenza VIII (1976). Her playing was spectacularly virtuosic. She performed with a passion and verve which would have enraptured any audience, even in a large concert hall. Hearing her perform in Alberto Posadas’ challenging Nebmaat (2004) later in the week confirmed that this exciting performer is a composer’s dream.
Read Caitlin’s other IMPULS 2013 posts: