Last Thursday and Saturday hailed the performances of a job lot of new Platform 4 stuff in a couple of collaboratory concerts that we put on with world-renowned contemporary pianist Phil Thomas (www.philip-thomas.co.uk) and two Huddersfield composers, Ben Isaacs and Pat Allison.
Thursday’s concert was in the fabulous St Paul’s Hall (a converted church and Huddersfield Music Department’s bespoke performance venue; if only Sheffield had one of those…), whilst we opted to try out the fabulous acoustic of the Upper Chapel in town. A lovely venue (despite a ticky clock interrupting some gripping silences) – I hope we can head there again for future concerts, not least given the fabulous Yamaha Grand Piano, suitable for a man of Phil’s talents.
We really were fortunate to procure the top skills of Dr Phil – his playing really is second to none, and, given he didn’t have much time to prepare for this concert, really did do all of our pieces justice.
The programme included Jenny [Jackson]’s Sanctum – a piece involving a ‘miming’ pianist with otherworldly accompaniment from hidden performers, each with graphic scores that echoed Phil’s movements. See / hear the results here. Also on the bill was Tom Owen’s Exhibition Suite; an incredibly image-conjuring solo piano exploration of J.G.Ballard landscapes, incorporating his earlier Memory Chasm; Tom James’ Quartet, a clarinet/horn/cello/piano combo incorporating a veritable feast of colours, most notably featuring the ‘head-tones’ one can hear when two wind instruments together are playing similar high pitches; my piece Of Limits (see post below for details); and Pat and Ben’s myriad exploratory miniatures, my favourite of which was Pat’s 10 Ex-static Parodies [for solo piano], which featured all manner of nuances and novelties – my particular favourite instruction was that the pianist should ‘play the notes silently, but with the force of playing mf‘.
Both concerts were reasonably well-attended with attentive and appreciative audiences of 30 -40-odd (although we could have done with a few more in the crowd in Sheffield…!).
Yet again massive thanks to all the Platform 4 extended family, who regularly (and happily) give up their time to rehearse and perform with us, and John Chappell for his excellent audio / visual assistance.
Biggest thanks must be reserved for Phil Thomas who managed to squeeze us in to his busy schedule and perform none-too-diminutive-or-difficult concert programmes in both Huddersfield and Sheffield – many thanks Phil. It really was a joy to hear my piano pieces being brought to life.
What next? I guess that’ll be decided over ‘Sexy Lunch’ (i.e. more than coffee) in Vittles tomorrow…