Ruth Leon recommends… Manchester Collective: A Little Requiem – Wigmore Hall – SlippediscSlippedisc

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December 31, 2022

Manchester Collective: A Little Requiem – Wigmore Hall

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Artists have always been obsessed by endings. Whether it’s nightfall, a broken heart, fire or frost – there’s a savage beauty to impermanence. In A Little Requiem, two composers venture into the darkness to explore the end of life, while a third voice rejoices in the beauty, vitality and innocence of Spring.

From the softly rocking lullaby of Busoni’s ‘Berceuse’ to the grimly tolling bell of Górecki’s ‘Kleines Requiem’, these overcast bookends conjure up vivid and haunting musical worlds. It’s all very soft and unsettling stuff… until it isn’t. The stillness of Górecki’s first movement soon explodes into the thrilling mania of his furious Allegros. This is a music of total extremes.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Standing steadfast between these two meditations on mortality, Copland’s evergreen ‘Appalachian Spring’ is a long, cool drink. It’s special (and rare!) for us to perform this kind of music – pure, beautiful, and almost childlike. Listening to ‘Appalachian Spring’ feels like a return to a more innocent time.

The Manchester Collective describe themselves as “a new kind of arts organisation, built for a fresh and diverse musical world. We create intimate and intense human experiences inspired by the music that we love, for everyone.”“We are the true believers. We passionately believe in the power of music to move us and to excite us. It doesn’t matter to us if you’re a seasoned concert-goer, or if it’s your first time. All are welcome.”

Manchester Collective were invited to Wigmore Hall to explore the sound of the empty auditorium as an instrument itself. This concert is the result.

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