PLG Young Artists, Purcell Room (4/5, 3/5)
Thursday 12 January 2012
Where would we be without the Park Lane
Group’s annual platform for budding musical talent?
Look at the list of performers and composers it has launched, and you’re looking at the history of fifty years of British music. Its canny move centre-stage at a time when other classical companies are in hibernation ensures it gets attention, and this year’s innovation of composer-led evenings doubles the appeal. First up – who else? – was Tom Ades, presiding over a master-class on his ‘Traced Overhead’, followed by an evening of works by him and his chosen composers.
And there the spotlight fell on some outstanding young players: flautist Rosanna Ter-Berg, pianist Leo Nicholson, and the Muse Piano Quintet, whose own pianist took the breath away. Even if you didn’t know her name, you’d guess her provenance: the ferocity of Yulia Vorontsova’s attack, and her intensely disciplined sweetness, could only have emanated from Moscow.
First Ter-Berg and Nicholson zapped us with Jolivet’s ‘Chant de Linos’, a test-piece for flute examinations with dizzy virtuosic requirements. They followed this with Edwin Roxburgh’s oddly-named ‘Flute Music with an Accompaniment for Flute and Piano’ and David Matthews’s ‘Duet Variations’: in the former Ter-Berg extracted shakuhachi-style harmonics from her instrument, and in the latter she drew out the tensile strength in the musical lines; ending with Patrick Nunn’s three-minute piccolo solo ‘Sprite’, she made a theatrical exit.
Meanwhile the Muse quintet brought out the muscular playfulness of Gerald Barry’s ‘Piano Quartet No 1’ and dealt brilliantly with Ades’s ‘Piano Quintet’. This intricately-layered work has a surprisingly traditional structure, with a sonata-style repeat including a few bars which might have been by Brahms, but its thematic transformations become ever more adventurous, leaving joyful tintinnabulations in the mind.
The young stars of the concert curated by composer John McCabe were Olga Stezhko, a pianist from Minsk, and clarinettist Harry Cameron-Penny with his pianist Jonathan Musgrave. Stezhko made luminous sense of Prokofiev’s dour Piano Sonata No 4, and brought more authority to a McCabe study and to Emily Howard’s tricksy ‘Sky and Water’ than they deserved. Meanwhile Cameron-Penny and Musgrave displayed singular virtuosity in the four works they had chosen, but these too weren’t worth the trouble. By all means give us new – or newish – works, but not from the bottom drawer.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
Top Gear Burma episode breached Ofcom rules over Jeremy Clarkson's racial slur
Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
Game of Thrones season 4 blooper reel unveiled at Comic-Con 2014
Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 teaser trailer sees Katniss lead rebellion against the Capitol
The Simpsons Family Guy trailer: First look at crossover episode after Comic-Con debut
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace