Colin Currie's percussion festival at the Southbank Centre in London shifts its focus onto the music of Louis Andriessen, with the UK premiere of Tapdance and the composer's classic Hoketus.
Louis Andriessen travels to London for a 75th birthday celebration on Sunday 5 October at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, part of Colin Currie's Metal, Wood, Skin percussion festival at the Southbank Centre. The 3pm concert includes the UK premiere of Tapdance for percussion and ensemble, with Currie joined by the Asko|Schoenberg Ensemble and conductor Clark Rundell. The same soloist and ensemble gave the world premiere of Tapdance in May at a ZaterdagMatinee concert in Amsterdam, and in addition to London a further performance is scheduled at the Tromp International Percussion Competition in Eindhoven on 16 November.
The London concert ends with a rare performance of Andriessen's classic Hoketus, a startling modern take on the medieval technique where music jumps or 'hiccups' between two lines or groups. Written in 1976, Andriessen's work is scored for two identical quintets, each with panflute, piano, Fender-piano, bass-guitar and percussion. Currie's programme also features the world premiere of a new commission by British-born US-resident composer Anna Clyne. Entitled Secret Garden the work is scored for drum set and recorded voice and inspired by the children's classic by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Colin Currie will discuss the new works on stage with Clyne and Andriessen as part of the concert.
In Tapdance Andriessen followed the example of Milhaud’s percussion concerto which subverts expectations by drawing inwards as the work progresses. An opening Charleston-flavoured dance section is followed by a solo toccata for marimba and a slow finale with the spotlight on a single timpani drum. The large ensemble conjures up ghostly reminiscences of the slow jazz blues from the 1950s and ’60s, with particular reference to the music of Horace Silver.
"Colin Currie enters the stage without physical dance pyrotechnics but suggests tap sounds with sticks and thimbles on a wooden plank. The element of dance is important but is only a thin covering to mask the nearby looming descent… The work concludes with slow, calamitous sounding timpanum strokes and a brief reference to the big band era when tap dancers were in vogue. The end is as lonely as a life that ceases to exist."
"… an eerie recollection of the slow jazz-blues movement…In the finale, Andriessen is at his mind-boggling best with strong colours from the saxophone section and the irrepressible bass guitar and piano combination. Its tight, almost merciless tirade gradually gives way to a melting, Romantic Mahleresque episode which is something totally new in Andriessen’s compositional style."
> Andriessen introduces Tapdance
> View an Online Score of Tapdance
> Southbank Centre for tickets
> Metal, Wood, Skin percussion festival
> Further information on Work: Tapdance
Photo: Francesca Patella
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