MUSIC / Late in the Day - The Norwich Festival

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The Independent Culture
The highlight of the Logos Ensemble's concert in Norwich on Wednesday night was the Festival commission, Franco Donatoni's Late in the Day (with text by Michael Riviere). Rather than an explicit text setting, the poem is treated as a 'pretext'; a focus for the composition in a madrigalistic sense. The poem's autumnal retrospection is also reflected in the extent to which Donatoni's score draws on his earlier music (the scalic passages, with which the piece opens, are derived from his 1984 Ronda).

In a fine performance, soprano Sara Stowe found appropriate expression for both fragmentary and more 'lyrical' gestures, and the instrumental virtuosity was also effective. Riviere has said that 'artists interrupt time a little'. With this piece it is a shame that, at only six minutes, Donatoni did not interrupt time a little longer.

Two arrangements by Bortolotti also received first performances. The first, a version of Brahms's two Lieder Op 91, lacked Romantic warmth, but the arrangement of Stravinsky's Pastorale was charming. Variety was provided by performances of Falla's Harpsichord Concerto, Rossini's first Quartet, Dallapiccola's Divertimento and Villa Lobos's Choros 2.