Review: Vintage scores, tributes evoke halcyon days

By William Dart

Eve de Castro-Robinson introduced her Karlheinz Company programme as music that was vivid, visceral and singular. Photo / iStock
Eve de Castro-Robinson introduced her Karlheinz Company programme as music that was vivid, visceral and singular. Photo / iStock

Eve de Castro-Robinson introduced her Karlheinz Company programme as music that was vivid, visceral and singular; evoking the halcyon, anarchic days of the late 1960s, it included three vintage 1968 scores.

The first was Ligeti's Continuum for Harpsichord, which Jonathan Dunlop whirred through like a swarm of blissed-out bees; the perfect introduction for Jack Body's Turtle Time with its opening image of dancing fireflies.

Callum Blackmore was a highly theatrical narrator, revelling in the time-obsessed paranoia of Russell Haley's trippy lyrics. Behind him, Alex Taylor had his ensemble glittering with flinty precision.

Steve Reich's 1968 Pendulum Music for microphones, amplifiers, speakers, performers presented the spectacle of a sculpture coming to life. Tonight was also a time for remembrances. Stephen De Pledge illuminated five of Pierre Boulez's Notations, with thunderous swells of glissando and cool counterpoint.

After this, Alex Taylor's tribute to the French composer caught him in both quotation and spirit.

The late David Bowie was acknowledged twice. Anthony Young's Leave Your Light On chimed over mysterious overtones, brought about by De Pledge placing Bowie books and CDs on lower piano keys.

Saxophonist Matt Ball worked his way from Coltrane-like fury to the grunt of key-bopping boogie in Clovis McEvoy's Change Blindness.

Songwriter John Grant is still with us, and Alex Taylor's piano rendition of Queen of Denmark had a special vulnerability.

Eve de Castro-Robinson's Cries of Auckland proved a fiery finale. Six vocalists sang and shouted protest slogans from the 1981 Springbok tour to anti-TPP rallies, while a string quartet shaded in around them.

- NZ Herald

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