The Music Committee in Concert: Concert B

Christian WolffLeft - Christian Wolff

I'll be the first to admit I'm more of a dance aficionado than a connoisseur of experimental music, however the chance to see this particular group of musicians – Christian Wolff, David Behrman, John King and Takehisa Kosugi – was of particular interest to me, the quartet having been long-associated with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

I was curious to see them take to the stage in their own right, although I have to say how much I appreciated their masterful accompaniment, contributing to some spine-tingling synergy, at MCDC Programs A and B over the last few days.

This second of the two concerts presented by The Music Committee again featured the quartet's co-composition 'For John', a tribute to Cunningham's partner in both work and life, John Cage.

The four-part program opened with Christian Wolff's 'Or Four People', an immersing soundscape of dissonant, irregular, yet wonderfully evocative sounds I found incredibly beautiful. These multi-musicians, implementing all manner of instruments (often modified in some way – Wolff on "prepared piano", Kosugi using anything at his disposal as percussive instruments), collaborated to produce a result that was unpredictable and delightful. It was a pleasure to get lost in this work as twilight set in behind the musicians, darkness falling beyond the glass-panelled confines of Federations Square's "indoor amphitheatre" BMW Edge.

Kosugi appeared to have a cheeky glint in his eye as he embarked upon his composition 'Organic Music', originally created in 1962. Taking the act of breathing as inspiration, he made inspired use of an (initially) deflated beach ball, hand pump, various plastic tubes and what appeared to be a recording device that sampled and looped the sounds to astonishingly sophisticated effect, with Kosugi's three colleagues contributing complementary vocals.

A second piece from Kosugi, 'Cycles II', followed, with the composer using "a combination of audio generators that creates live electronic music" to produce shrill and relentless, yet complex, sounds. This piece was really testing – no two ways about it – but left me reeling in a wonderful sort of way.
This recital was hugely revealing. I found every moment of it intriguing, having heard the works of artists such as John Cage on record, but never performed live – which of course, always creates an atmosphere that's a little more special.

The small bunch of devoted and hugely appreciative attendees somewhat made up for the scant turnout – disappointing given such a rare opportunity right at our doorstep.


The Music Committee in Concert
Concert B

Venue: Federation Square, BMW Edge
When: Mon 22 & Tue 23 Oct at 6pm
Duration: 1hr 20min no interval
Prices: Full $30 / Groups (8+) $27 / Conc $22.50 / School Groups $12
Bookings:
Ticketmaster 1300 136 166
www.melbournefestival.com.au

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