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Dediu, Beaudoin & de la Cour

Royal Academy of Music & The Forge, Camden Town, 1 May 2012.

A rewarding evening shared between two concerts of new music.

At the Royal Academy's early evening public concert, a number of students took the stage successively, each of them showing confidence in cutting edge chamber music by Dan Dediu (b 1967) whose music I had noted particularly at the World Music Days in Luxembourg, 2000, * recommending it for student ensembles and orchestras.

It was a pleasure to meet him again in London. Convenient timings made it possible to go on to The Forge in Camden Town to hear Mark Knoop give concert premières of new works by Richard Beaudoin and Adam de la Cour, stemming from the esoteric concept of re-using existing musical material.

Beaudoin [R] uses recorded performances of Maurizio Pollini, Alfred Cortot and Thelonius Monk to create new structures; de la Cour [L] applies Burroughs’ cut-up techniques to Stockhausen's Piano Piece 10. The problem was that few of us would have heard the Stockhausen at all recently...

Bizarre though most of the music sounded, attention was held by Knoop's mastery of timbre and resonance; he is an exceptional pianist who cannot play dully, and an audience of afficionados listened spellbound ! (I was unable to remain for a 40 mins work by Finnissy).

Watch Mark Knoop play de la Cour's 'Girls and boys come out then play'

Mark Knoop has a double CD [L] with the Kreutzer Quartet which is worth exploring; it relates to a research event which I had attended at RAM [R] in which both Knoop & the Kreutzers gave newly reconstructed versions of a Chopin Prelude as recorded by Martha Argerich.

I wonder what she's thought of it?

Peter Grahame Woolf

* - - Romanian Dan Dediu's arresting Viola Concerto No. 2 begins with slow glissandi from the soloist, whose rewarding part combines Romanian folk-fiddling features with more advanced techniques, such as a long passage in high harmonics. The expert, unselfconscious Marius Ungureano had to deliver one shock by giving voice to anguished screams at certain points, a challenge for musicians of a retiring nature, those being the ones who often take up that usually unassertive instrument - - it would be a good piece for schools and colleges to consider for their orchestral concerts, to help open the ears of young musicians to the possibilities of their instruments; I learned from the composer thathe score had been commissioned by a Swiss architect for an amateur orchestra in which he played violin - - " Peter Grahame Woolf, Seen & Heard, London