Mysteries plus

The Halloween concert by the UoT Contemporary Music Ensemble in Walter Hall was fun.  Unfortunately I was only able to catch the first half which featured Sofia Gubaidulina’s In Erwartung for saxophone quartet and percussion.  This was a cool piece making interesting use of the space.  It was followed by Robert Paterson’s Closet Full of Demons which is scored for small ensemble plus alarm clocks and jack-in-a-box.  Sometimes I feel I should listen to music like this more often (and sometimes I don’t!).  The main reason for being there though was to see Maeve Palmer and the Ensemble do Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Clearly tons of work had gone into this and it was much crisper than when I saw it in Barbara Hannigan’s master class a few weeks ago.  Maeve really got into character as Gepopo.  It was all there.  The notes of course but also the keen sense of timing and the ability to convey the paranoia of the character.  The Ensemble was well into it too.  The bassoon and trombones were ugly.  The shouting was convincing.

I wish I had photographs because everyone was in costume not just Maeve.  The firs conductor (lorenzo Guggenheim) appeared as a back to front neon lit Wolfman and the second; Wallace Halladay, as a reversed skeleton.  The Ensemble included Superwoman among others and Maeve was a sort of leather mini-skirted SS officer.  Much fun!

If anyone does have photos I could use please drop me a line.

Hannigan at UoT 2019 edition

There was a two part session with Barbara Hannigan at UoT yesterday.  The first part consisted of an open rehearsal/masterclass for the Contemporary Ensemble conducted by Wallace Halladay with Maeve Palmer as soloist of Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre.  The piece is a mash up of three areas for the character Gepopo from the opera Le Grand Macabre.  The basic premise is that Gepopo, the head of the secret police, is trying to warn her boss that the Earth is about to be hit by a comet.  Unfortunately Gepopo has spent so long in the underworld of spooks and spies that she’s utterly paranoid and can only speak in broken fragments and secret codes.  It’s weird and surreal and often funny in a disturbing way.  It’s a piece very much associated with Hannigan who has sung it many times and worked on it with the composer. 

mysteries

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