Sunday, 23 April 2006

Tuesday, 4 April 2006

Seeing and Hearing Double

'the night rider' - homage to Frances-Marie Uitti by Paul Griffiths

Hands tight on the reins, eyes steady forward,
astride her living wooden horse, she tears ahead.
There are others, at the side,
holding searchlights to catch her as she goes.
Iannis Xenakis sees her spectacular dexterity.
John Cage smiles at her humour.
Giacinto Scelsi welcomes her gravity and intensity.
Jonathan Harvey hails her wild imagination.
Gyorgy Kurtag observes her true power.
Now this.
She looks neither to right nor to left.
Hands tight, eyes steady, astride, she tears on.

As part of a fantastic series of concerts programmed by Rolf Hind and the society for the promotion of new music (spnm), I went to see Frances-Marie Uitti, renowned avant-garde cellist and inventor of the polyphonic two-bow cello technique.

To her great credit I heard she had spent considerable time working with four of the UK's best up-and-coming composers on a programme of their new two-bow works, written especially for the event.

I was so surprised at the list of composers who had written pieces for her and dedicated them to her, I had to checkout what all the fuss was about. In the end perhaps after such high expectations I was a little disappointed not to find her playing more inspired, but I enjoyed immensely the fizzy masturbation of Xenakis's Kottos, the dogged hypnotic constancy of Scelsi's Ygghur, and a beautiful miniature from Kurtag.