The white smoke filling the bare white-walled 17th century former naval warehouse slowly lifted as Varese´s Déserts began, with the orchestra initially hidden behind a white curtain. Bill Viola´s images of isolated deserts and underwater images interrupted by an isolated man in a room seems almost ideal to accompany Varese´s music. Purification, redemption, transfiguration seems to be the themes of Viola´s work. Arrestingly beautiful.
Intermezzo included white-clad stewardesses serving wine and tapas to the audience (brilliant idea!)- while deserted cities were projected on the wall.
And then the world premiere of Kent Olofsson accordion concerto - mixing prerecorded electronic sounds played by loud-speaker with those of the symphony orchestra - placed at 5-6 small elevated scenes between the audience. And the accordion score included vocal sounds and drumming on the instrument as well... It is a fascinating piece, the mix of percussion with the characteristic accordion seems a very good match. I had the most fascinating seat in the room - just beside the percussionist, playing on: Old metal sweet boxes, scratching a heavy object on the floor, moving a chord sticking out of a drum ..wonder what his score looked like....
I´d say this was a close-to-ideal set-up for performing contemporary classical works: The mix of century-old buildingc, brand-new music and top-quality visual input.
This concert was part of the Sound Around festival:
Danish Radio Sinfonietta
Conductor: Christian Eggen
Soloist: James Crabb (accordion)
Edgard Varèse: Déserts with video by Bill Viola
Intermezzo: Transformation by Hans Hansen and 7 students from the School of Archicture
Kent Olofsson: Chladni’s Bow- Physisonochromie III for accordion, orchestra and electronics (2006-07) World Premiere