Sunday, February 19, 2006

CONCERT REVIEW: Fortune favours the brave

Oh, the things I do for you! Just to retrieve a week old article, I've had to register with The Times Online. Well, there are worse things, aren't there? It's not like I'm on Survivor, being forced to eat weevils or rotting fish or something!

Writer Paul Driver "is swept away by two new pieces inspired by Homer and Shakespeare" in Fortune favours the brave, The Sunday Times (February 12, 2006). But it's this niblet at the end that we are interested in:
Fearing a recurrence of Golijovery, I went to the Philharmonia Orchestra’s QEH concert for the European premiere of the erstwhile Estonian rock musician Erkki-Sven Tuur’s Noesis. But this concerto for the possibly unprecedented configuration of violin, clarinet and orchestra turned out to be a solid, if bizarre, piece of work. A traditional fast-slow-fast continuous structure, it was hardly traditional in other ways. For one thing, there are no readily definable ideas. The fast music is a succession of solo flourishes and exerciselike figures, played — in radiant rapport by the married couple Isabelle van Keulen and Michael Collins, the work’s dedicatees — against a strenuous harmonic and rhythmic background. Till the very end, one was waiting for the work proper to begin. But I was struck by the fact that, though Tuur doesn’t falsely dramatise the difference between solo instruments of similar range, interesting timbral contrasts steadily emerge. The concerto, conducted by Paavo Jarvi, did have something to say.

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