Thursday 27 September 2018

Schumann and Schubert to Vessel and George Crumb: Manchester Collective's 2018/19 season

The Manchester Collective
The Manchester Collective
Formed in 2016, the Manchester Collective has just launched its 2018-2019 season. When I chatted to the group's managing director, Adam Szabo, last year [see my article] he said that the group's aim was to 'bring a greater variety of chamber music to North West England, an area rich in orchestral music but with fewer opportunities to hear top level chamber music.' And in December 2017 it was appointed Ensemble in Residence at the Stoller Hall in Manchester. This new season certainly does that, as the group explores a wide variety of composers, genres and eras, with a lively view of what it is to programme a concert.

The season starts with the Romantic Hero tour with pianist Jayson Gillham, which combines Schumann's Piano Quintet and Waldszenen with music by Kurtag and Australian composer Nigel Westlake. This is followed by a Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire performed in a new English translation by David Pountney, with soprano Lotte Betts-Dean (currently a City Music Foundation Young Artist). Famously difficult to approach for many audiences, the work will be presented with broadcaster Elizabeth Alker there to guide audiences. The group will be reviving its show 100 Demons which explores the space between live strings and electronics, with a collaboration with electronic artist Vessel and composer Daniel Elms. As well as music by Elms and Vessel, the programme also includes Iannis Xenakis, Jonathan Harvey, Steve Reich and Edmund Finnis.

The first event of the new year is a tour of George Crumb's iconic Black Angels, written for amplified string quartet, and paired with Schubert's String Quartet in D minor, 'Death and the Maiden'. Then comes Bach's Goldberg Variations in Dmitri Sitkovetsky's remarkable re-imagining for string trio (believe me, it works!). And finally, the group's major commission for 2018/19, Paradise Lost, a new work from composer and electronic musicians Sebastian Gainsborough (AKA Vessel) collaborating with Manchester Collective's music director, Rakhi Singh.

It is a certainly a season to make you think, and to look at chamber music differently. Full details from the Manchester Collective website.

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