News and Reviews
Review: After:HOURS concert
Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham - Tuesday 16th March 2010
There were links between Tuesday's late-night event and two previous concerts in a remarkable new Nottingham Classics venture.
American composer Nico Muhly supplied the main work this time round. Muhly has collaborated with leading minimalist Philip Glass, who was featured last autumn. And Muhly's piece Seeing is Believing was inspired by the stars as much as the final work heard last month.
The title evokes Renaissance star-gazers and the matching of scientific observations to religious beliefs. Muhly cites all sorts of creative influences – an old English diagram of the universe, an engraving from a treatise on sun-spots, an anthem by William Harris ('Fair is the Heaven').
Mozart also came into the equation, partly through a historic star-studded design for his opera The Magic Flute.
And the result? A one-movement concerto for Thomas Gould's customised electric violin and chamber orchestra, building its mysterious mission on a 3-note phrase and a long-drawn series of chords.
This was a journey into the unknown, but driving towards order and harmony. The fiercest passage was a free-for-all between soloist and woodwinds, the gentlest an exchange with the celesta. The nonchalant ending provided another Mozartian touch.
Under André de Ridder's direction, members of Viva supported the phenomenal Gould with their usual engagement and flair. The violinist kicked off with an agreeably vigorous and virtuosic solo piece by Anna Meredith – of whom the region can expect to hear more.
Review by Peter Palmer