Leif Ove Andsnes's innovative Risør Festival comes to the Wigmore Hall this week. It's very special because it's aimed at performers, playing for each other and sharing ideas. Everyone stays together in this small Norwegian coastal town, so people get to know each other closely, which adds to the atmosphere - very conducive to good chamber music. Because it's a musicians' festival, the focus is on experiment - unusual repertoire, unusual ways of hearing the familiar. Risør's creative, and attracts the eclectic. Please read this account: "Revolution in Risør"
Part of the Risør ambiance is Norwegian - clear, clean air, sea breezes, forests, remoteness, long evenings that don't get dark. That doesn't travel but at the Wigmore Hall this week, we'll get a chance to hear some of the music.
On Friday 26th, Leif Ove Andsnes presents a programme framed by Grieg's Violin Sonata No. 1 in F Op. 8 (presumably with Henning Kraggerud as soloist) and Brahms Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor Op. 25 (could be either Marc-André Hamelin or Andsnes himself). In between a series of songs - Wagner, Duparc, Liszt, Chausson. Measha Brueggergosman won second prize the year the Wigmore Hall Song Competition didn't award a first prize. She's developing well. She impressed as a sassy but smart Jenny Smith in the recent Barcelona Kurt Weill Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. She's had recent major heart surgery and proudly bears the scars - good for her! Her stamina will improve, and these songs will show her to advantage. She's specially good at sensual French chanson.
The concert on Saturday 27th sold out ages ago. Look at the programme and see why. I'm going on Sundat 28th though, because the programme's more daring. Andsnes and Hamelin play The Rite of Spring? This is the two piano version!
Ralf Wallin's Under City Skin is completely new to me, but my friend Douglas Cooksey wrote "Conjuring up the frenetic sounds of a day in the life of a city from the sinister and dangerous sounds of running high heels in the early morning to the stress of the rush-hour, there was an impressive energy culminating in a downward ride in a skyscraper lift, almost a ride to the abyss; unfortunately,Wallin seemed reluctant to quit whilst he was ahead, rounding off the piece with a tediously soporific slow section which dissipated all the tensions previously generated. Like Satie's mischievous comment about Debussy's La mer when he commented that he liked the bit at quarter-to-eleven in the opening movement ('Dawn to Midday on the Sea'), Wallin should have stopped when we got off the lift!"
Arthur Honneger's Second Symphony, and Alban Berg 4 Pieces for clarinet and piano Op. 5 too! And if that's not enough, there's an 1130 Sunday morning concert too.