One other yr, one other lockdown. Although I’ve little doubt this was not the way in which most of hoped to start out 2021, we will no less than be grateful that we’re not struggling fairly the identical drought of stay music we skilled again in March. Regardless of the stringent restrictions, many venues and ensembles are in a position to supply an array of stay and recorded streams, one thing which wasn’t doable within the UK at the beginning of the primary lockdown. Final Saturday noticed the Wigmore Hall host not one however three such occasions, in a day of performances devoted to the music of pioneering American composer Morton Feldman.
Wigmore Corridor Affiliate Ensemble, Residence Home, offered three distinct shows of Feldman’s work, together with his 1959 work Final Items being the primary. Pianist Kerry Yong gave an other-worldly feeling to the summary chords within the sluggish first and third actions, and a pushed, although not hurried, sense of motion to the sooner second and fourth. This was adopted by the solo violin melody For Aaron Copland, performed in a delightfully easy model by Gordon Mackay.
Feldman discovered a lot of his inspiration within the work of summary impressionists and composed a collection of items with a one-word title, which he then wrote a number of variations of. A collection of these had been carried out within the morning live performance. Projections 1, performed by Residence Home founder Anton Lukoszevieze on solo cello, was gentle and intriguing, drawing the listener in to his sound world. The identical contemplative stillness was heard within the trio Durations 4, the place Lukoszevieze was joined by Mackay on violin and Simon Limbrick on vibraphone. Ending the primary efficiency, Limbrick created a rare vary of sounds enjoying his devices utilizing solely his arms within the 1964 solo percussion work The King of Denmark. After a break, throughout which I’m certain the Wigmore Corridor’s Steinway was suitably sanitised, pianist Mark Knoop sat on the keyboard for this efficiency of a single work – Feldman’s Piano and String Quartet. This was a hypnotic efficiency, and a welcome second of stillness in what’s for a lot of a fraught and tense time. Broad, blurred brush strokes from the string quartet paint a tranquil but haunting musical canvas, punctuated by ethereal melodic fragments from Knoop on piano, who introduced the piece to a contemplative finish.
The ultimate live performance started with Feldman’s ultimate solo piano work, Palais de Mari. Impressed by a portray of the traditional Babylonian palace of Mari hanging within the Louvre, the composer was struck by the constructing’s “imperfect symmetry”. This high quality, which Feldman embodies within the music, was fantastically exhibited by Knoop, as he teased on the slight variations in rhythm and tone in Feldman’s nearly equivalent repetitions.
Voices had been added to the combination for this final efficiency of the day. In addition to being drastically influenced by visible artwork, Feldman was additionally impressed by the work of American author Frank O’Hara. Australian bass-baritone Morgan Pearse (pictured above with ensemble) sang Feldman’s O’Hara Songs with each a mournful vulnerability and a fierce conviction. The live performance’s ultimate work – For Franz Kline – was equally mesmerising. Soprano Josephine Stephenson gave a fragile, tender high quality to the wordless vocal traces, which fluently intermingled with the instrumentalists of Residence Home.