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Percussion and Piano

Joe Duddell Parallel Lines
Dave Maric Sense and Innocence
Sir Harrison Birtwistle Harrison's Clocks IV and V ; The Axe Manual
Louis Andriessen Woodpecker
Elliott Carter Two Thoughts about the Piano

Colin Currie percussion Nicolas Hodges piano

Wigmore Hall 24 October 2008

An esoteric recital which attracted but a slender audience to this venue; more suitable perhaps for The Warehouse or Kings Place? Colin Currie has been appointed associate aartist at Wigmore Hall, committed to return annually, and it will be interesting to know whether Wigmore Hall regulars will turn up to hear him in 2009?

The evening did not start well; Duddell's dense piece suggested that piano and percussion were uneasy bedfellows. Dave Maric's work for percussion and electronics made a far better impression, and left us interested to here Currie's Onyx CD featuring that composer [ONYX4024].

Nicholas Hodges gave a powerful (i.e. loud) account of two of Birtwistle's intricate Clocks pieces, and was joined by Currie for an invigorating duo composed for Emmanuel Ax (pun !). The two instruments were set against each other in a way which testified to the professiona expertise and good ear of a major composer, but the actual music was complex beyond any hope of comprehending what was actually going on.

Two solo contributions made this event, finally, worth attending. Andriessen announced his Woodpecker on wood blocks, moving to marimba and throwing in a few other instruments by the way in a manic tour de force. A brilliant composition which would be a hit anywhere under the hands and mallets of a sufficiently agile percussionist. And Hodges revelled in the near-centenarian Carter's late piano pieces; Ingtermittences exploring many piano dounds and, especially, silences, and Catenaires (for Aimard) a thrilling exporation of a proliferating chain of notes in a single line; both pieces that deserve to enter the repertoires of pianists who can cope with them.

Peter Grahame Woolf