Last night saw the final concert in this year’s West End Micro Music Festival. Once more the venue was the intimate and acoustically very good Redeemer Lutheran on Bloor West. The first half of the programme was the latest iteration of Nahre Sol (keyboards) and Brad Cherwin’s (clarinets) PAPER. Joined by Louis Pino on electronics, they improved on what paper is, sounds like, looks like and can be used for. There were electronic paper noises, crumpled paper, torn paper, piano prepared with paper and Brad creating a painting on paper and using it as an instrument. I suppose this is more “performance art” than music but it was pretty interesting.
The second half of the programme was more conventional string quartet work, once again riffing off some idea of “minimalism”. The festival quartet of Amy Hollis and Hee-Soo Yoon (violins), Maxime Despax (viola) and Sebastian Ostertag (cello) played the finale from Glass’ “Mishima” quartet and Caroline Shaw’s Entracte; which are probably what most people think of as minimalism; arpeggios, pizzicato passages passed around the players and so on. The final piece though; Eleanor Alberga’s Quartet No.2, was much more abrasive (and louder and longer!). Definitely a virtuoso piece that tease with the sense that it is coming to a climax and concluson multiple times before, each time, heading off again somewhere else. A reprise of the Glass, given it’s subtitle “closing” made a fitting conclusion.
So that’s it for WEMMF for another year. Bucking some current trends it played to full houses of rather younger than average audience members. Maybe there’s hope for classical music in Toronto yet!