Wonderful Continuum Concert This Evening

The Continuum Contemporary Music season was off to a fine start this evening with some wonderful pieces by Butterfield, Smith and Dutch composer Martijn Voorvelt. There was a rather long cue when I arrived at the Music Gallery at a few minutes before concert time, which for a contemporary music concert struck me as a little unusual. And once inside I discovered a large crowd and few choices for a good seat in the pews.

The concert opened with Christopher Butterfield‘s Music for Klein and Beuys which I thoroughly enjoyed and was surprised to read was written in 1987. An interesting ensemble including bass recorder, melodica and banjitar with some lovely newspaper tearing and crumbling to punctuate sections of the piece.

Linda C. Smith‘s piece Brush Line provided a lovely instrumental texture that supported what I think was an intentionally understated mezzo-soprano. The result was a voice that was truly part of the ensemble rather than sitting atop an instrumental accompaniment.

The last two pieces were a “musico-dramatic study” by Martijn Voorvelt from The Netherlands. Actually quite an entertaining and theatrical pair of pieces which Jennifer Waring indicated are the beginnings of a larger composition focusing on the unfortunate death of Frederick the “liberal German crown prince” in 1888.

It was a great evening with fantastic performances by all and especially the tenor Cristopher Mayell and mezzo-soprano Marion Newman; although, I have to admit, I left with the words “random stabbing” running through my head and an uncomfortable urge to clear my throat.