Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Debussy, Katan, Runswick, Rzewski etc

Music from the 20th & 21st Centuries

Trinity College of Music 2002 Graduates Reunion Concert

February 26th 2007, Peacock Room, Trinity College of Music, London

Student events in London, whether at the Academy & Colleges of music, RADA for theatre and LABAN for contemporary dance, provide us with many of our most enjoyable and inspiriting evenings out.

This Trinity Reunion concert, bringing together scattered friends (one coming especially from Cologne) was a somewhat ad-hoc event, which might better have been given in the reverse order.

Peter Land gave a sensitive account of Adams' China Gate (q.v. Robert van Raat's Naxos recording) but early Pärt (two formulaic Sonatinas and the all too simplistic Variationen) did not earn their place, nor was Falla's Ritual Fire Dance quite the right encore? A pity that he opted for the much over-performed Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues to represent Frederic Rzewski, whose The Road (its world premiere recording on disc still awaited!) was the most memorable event in Trinity College's calendar last year.

Laura Moody (now well established professionally in the Elysian String Quartet) introduced the Debussy sonata, focusing our attention on its zany craziness (and reminding me that I described her as a born raconteur in 2003). She played it with compelling concentration and intensity. Partnering her, Andre Shlimon was generally too loud and putting the piano lid on short stick never helps.

Aleks Szram played a new virtuoso study khepera by "Katan" (who he?)* and some of the varied collection of Scafra Preludes by Daryl Runswick, who long ago tried to teach me to improvise at a COMA summer school...

Both composers were present and, in the absence of programme notes, some words of introduction would have been welcome. (Runswick's Scafra is fully explained on his website.)

These were performances that did justice to the newest and most interesting music of the evening and suggested even more potential as Szram's interpretations will develop. **

Peter Grahame Woolf

* P.S. Explore some of Simon Katan's interesting and relaxing experimental music, and hear him talking about Cage and silence, at http://www.furthernoise.org/index.php?url=page.php&ID=140&iss=58

** I have since learnt that there are plans for Aleks Szram to record the Scafra Preludes, and then do a lecture-recital tour with Daryl Runswick, where he would talk about how they were composed.