‘All About The Piano’
St Matthew’s Church Exeter
Saturday 15 October 3pm
Alex Wilson (piano)
Emma Welton (violin)
Nicholas Peters (trumpet)
available on the door
The concert is the second in a collaboration between Exeter based pianist Alex Wilson and composer/violinist Emma Welton, and Wiltshire based composer Nicholas Peters. The first performance took the same programme to Wiltshire, at the Pound Arts Centre in Corsham in June 2016, and this second concert sees us perform at the Devon end of our artistic collaboration. It is a concert that explores the varied roles of the piano in performance. Our programme features the piano as both extravagant soloist and submissive accompanist: music that explores the technical, theatrical and sonic possibilities of the piano.
Nicolas Peters: "With"
Alvin Lucier: "Nothing is Real"
Emma Welton: "Sustain"
Gerald Barry: "Au Milieu"
Nicholas explores the pianist’s relationship with other instrumentalists:
"With" contains a series of sections that explore a different element of this relationship, whether it is practicing ones own part with a recording, rehearsing together or exploring the resonance of the piano in the performance space. Why the piano is commonly viewed as the accompaniment in this context will be questioned, and new material is juxtaposed with found material drawn from existing piano accompaniments.
Emma’s composition highlights the energy consumption of the concert venue:
An induction coil microphone is used to record each electrical device in St Matthew’s Church, revealing the hidden sounds of the building as an energy organism. Alex and his piano are found in the midst of this twittering and roaring chorus of electricity. Based as it is on sounds recorded at St Matthew’s Church, this will be an entirely unique performance of music, completely specific to Devon and its sounds and musicians.
Alex will play 2 other pieces as part of the concert:
In ‘Nothing is Real’ by Alvin Lucier fragments from the Beatles song "Strawberry Fields Forever" are played on the piano and simultaneously recorded. In the second part of the piece, the recording is played back from a small loudspeaker hidden inside a teapot. The sound of the playback is altered by different positions of the lid (e.g., open, closed, partially closed, partially open...) or by lifting the closed teapot off the piano. From time to time even 'melodic lines' - as indicated in the score - are created by changing the distance of the lid to the teapot.
The programme finishes with "Au Milieu" by Gerald Barry. The term 'au milieu' ('in the centre') - is used in ballet to describe exercises performed away from the bar. Abandon, balance, virtuosity, vulnerability and danger are its elements, and composer himself dedicates it as a tribute to those who have conquered and died at the keyboard.