Friday, April 19, 2013

Recording: The GGS New Music Ensemble

Artist: The Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble

Songs: Triple Riffing [excerpt] (Tim Brady, composer) + Chamber Concerto: I. Corrente (Fließend) (György Ligeti, composer)

Recorded at The Royal Conservatory of Music (Conservatory Theatre), April 18, 2013.

The GGS New Music Ensemble - Triple Riffing [excerpt]

The GGS New Music Ensemble - Chamber Concerto - I. Corrente

Full review to follow. A night of top-notch performances from these students at the Royal Conservatory. The evening started with Tim Brady appearing in two roles, first playing improvised electric guitar alongside the ensemble on a Steven Mackey piece, pitting free will and determinism in a head-to-head battle. That set the stage nicely for the moto perpetuo of his own "Triple Riffing", performed by a trio of students on piano, clarinet and violin. The building layers featured plenty violin sawing and some clarinet squawks that put the composer's guitar shredding and feedback squeals at the top of the mind.

The second half featured Alexina Louie's "Imaginary Opera", which vivdly set the scene for a tale of nefarious deeds by the foggy riverside and a chase scene with ghosts just somewhere outside the edges of the frame. And the night closed with with a meticulous reading of Ligeti's "Chamber Concerto" with many different sonic densities bubbling together. The quick pizzicato strings and deconstructed stereophonic chord-blasts brought some elements of electronic music to mind, and the inclusion of some creamy synth textures hinted that this piece (from 1970) could be read as being as much a contemporary of, say, Silver Apples as of Górecki or music of that ilk.

This wasn't the first time that I've seen this ensemble play, and I've always been impressed by the calibre of performance and the energy brought by the students and director Brian Current. These shows are about the joy of discovery for both the performers and audience, and they're quite reasonably priced. Just as I'd rather go see a band at the 'Shoe than at the ACC, there's a real delight in seeing these musicians close up at this stage of their performing careers. At this last concert of the year for the group there were a few more empty seats in the theatre than there should have been, so once the ensemble gets started in the next season, expect me to be hectoring you to come out and join me in discovering something new.

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