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Birmingham Contemporary Music Group CBSO [...]; REVIEWS.

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group CBSO Centre Opening with Stravinsky's Sonata for Two Pianos, pianists Nicolas Hodges and Ryan Wigglesworth, the latter of whom also conducted the remainder of this Birmingham Contemporary Music Group concert, set the mood with complex rhythms and abrupt phrase endings juxtaposing a pared-down and exposed middle section. Both pianists performed beautifully and sensitively, with the conversation between the two pianos ranging from extremely serene to positively exciting.

Missing the distinct melodic lines which flowed through the other works, John Cage's Second Construction for four percussionists initially appeared less stimulating. However, the intricate rhythmic structures quickly compensated for a lack of tunefulness and the musicians delivered precise, clean execution of interwoven rhythms.

The world premiere of Richard Baker's The Tyranny of Fun combined a traditional classical ensemble with modern electronica. Explosive woodwind motifs contrasted with eerie harmonic solos from the strings, underpinned by the pulsating heartbeat of a kick drum.

A revised version of Richard Causton's Chamber Symphony proved the darkest piece of the evening. Although firmly anchored by a growling bass line, the percussion was obtrusively intense and the harmonics uncomfortably piercing. Desolate woodwind combined with discordant harmonies made for a dramatic but tense performance.

With Olivier Messiaen's Oiseaux exotiques, the audience was treated to another wonderful performance from pianist Hodges, whose sparkling virtuosic solo sections were interspersed by bright woodwind and powerful brass.

Sarah Chatterley
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Title Annotation:Features; Review
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 21, 2013
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