I have attended two live concerts on the previous consecutive nights: on Friday, a piano recital by Peter Seivewright at St. James Church, Clacton. Ear-opening transcriptions of Bach, including a Bach transcription by Rachmaninov, where we felt one soul taking over another soul, through inspiring music, as if a deserted beach on The Isle of the Dead was inhabited by a meticulously pixelated Well-Tempered Clavier in a film called ‘The Piano’.
I am not usually keen on Gershwin, but a transcription of the whole of his Piano Concerto was played passionately by Peter without a score to follow, with what turned out to be some engagingly characteristic Seivewright armkicks, and this music became something else altogether, something the same, something different, something better than how I remember the Concerto to have once been. The acoustics of the church and resonance of the piano itself were wonderful, too. He also played some exciting Jazz Etudes by Peter Thorne.
Last night, I attended nearby Stoke-by-Nayland church, as part of the Roman River Music Festival, to hear Shostakovich’s 8th String Quartet played by Benjamin Nabarro, Emma Parker, Yuri Zhislin and Gemma Rosefield. The church setting and the music’s constructive despair were sobering as well as stimulating, ingeniously following, as this work did, a sort of unprogrammed retrocausal encore in the shape of a very engagingly played Schubert’s Quartettsatz. I love Schubert. One day I hope to see a live performance of Shostakovich’s 15th quartet which contains about eight movements, I recall, all of them adagio!
The second half of this concert was a rare live performance, by candlelight, of Rachmaninov’s Vespers by the Armonico Consort directed by Christopher Monks. What a privilege for the crammed-pack audience! A spiritual journey by an ostensibly un-spiritual composer, 75 minutes of dark bliss, a running complex minimalism, as it were, that still rings in my ears, the voices steeple pure, deep oaken and redolent with peace under-threaded with deities. I predict none of us present at this occasion will be the same person again after such an experience; changed for the better when set against the relativities of our diurnal existence. In the same way as I understand Rachmaninov to have been, I feel a non-religious spirituality, as I hope my own lifetime fiction work has attested in its small way.
Now back to the Clacton horizons.
A link or two to some of my other music meanderings: https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/war-requiem/#comment-14198