Thursday, October 22, 2015

New Music Played on Old Instruments

The London Sinfonietta are in town, playing at Palacio de Bellas Artes, conducted by Garry Walker (who'd already come to Mexico a few months ago as part of the Festival de Mayo in Guadalajara). Interesting programme kicking off with the bizarrely titled Wonderful No-Headed Nightingale by youngish British composer Luke Bedford (during which Garry Walker said afterwards that he came over faint and nearly keeled over), followed by a specially commissioned piece by a young Mexican composer, Marisol Jimenez, which was probably the most extreme of the evening: all prepared piano, violin bows scraping the music stand and rattling the keys of wind instruments without blowing. The main attraction for me was Laurence Crane's Chamber Symphony No.2, again a new commission and perhaps a new direction for Laurence - very mature, engaging and accessible. 
It seemed that most people preferred the second half, with pieces by Colin Matthews, Enrico Chapela and Harrison Birtwistle, but I lost a bit of interest, except for the Mexican composer's Acoussence which was split into five varied parts and was the best of the evening, along with Laurence's.
While there I was receiving pix from a colleague attending MUTEK, the four-day electronica festival which started this evening. Both were about new, challenging music, one using very old instruments, the other using very new ones. How very different the two shows were... 

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