Friday, October 05, 2012

Schnittke-Hot! And an Incredible Encounter

Level of conviction in own genius: 8
Hours of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 4
Reading: Hopping between 'Electric Eden' and a biography of Gertrude Bell
Hair Day: Alarming change from yellow-blonde top half to near-white (not expressly of my wishing), giving me a glimpse into my Hair Future when I am aged 75. Have been embellishing with emergency temporary pink.

The first of my curated season of gigs at Handel House went off with a bang, with a sold-out crowd (ok, so you can only squeeze 30 people into the Georgian front room, but trying to put on new music in a Museum famous for le Baroque is tricky business!). Ensemble Amorpha, led by rising composer and Junior Trinity compadre Luke Styles, came along to perform Michael Finnissy's installation-esque piece The Molly House; four players, plus Michael on harpsichord, wandered around the first floor playing from his flexible 'kit' of score sheets, and occasionally playing a hoover, hairdryer or electric whisk for good measure. In truth the additional instrument was the insane floorboard creaking as the audience meandered around with them,but nobody seemed to mind too much. This was chased up with strong showings of contemporary string writing, from a taut Ligeti viola sonata, to Luke's own excellently astringent violin/viola duo, and finally Schnittke's gorgeously claggy 'lento', which sounded as thick and luscious as a quartet rather than just violin and 'cello (I thoroughly credit my title joke to 'cellist Louise). The austere, robust music worked excellently in the House, and the audience seemed hardy to it and appreciative.
Two notable meetings happened - one was meeting composer Laurence Rose, whose day job is high up at the RSPB; surely an encounter just having been waiting to occur given my obsession with birdies in my music. But easily topping that was when a tall, bearded chap in his 50s introduced himself as 'my namesake', and I realised that the high drama moment had finally arrived when I met not only my name, my full initials, but also my job doppelganger: London-based composer Kerry Andrews. I kid you not. I half-expected us both to spontaneously combust upon setting eyes upon each other, or else, lock into some sort of immediate vicious battle to the death using only our bare hands and teeth, but instead we shook hands, and I said, hopefully in not too Dr. No-style 'we meet at last!'. I've been long aware of Kerry (and so, it turns out, has he of me), often through confusion on others' parts - that rogue 's' makes all the difference between being a male sound artist/visual artist/composer and, well, ME. We exchanged stories of confusions - the best being when he went to a job interview and introduced himself, to which the interviewer replied indignantly, 'no you're not! I know Kerry Andrew and you're not her!' to which he had an excellent reply of 'well, I was here first!'. Ha ha. He and I have both been congratulated on various funding wins or recent events that the other has done. I suggested that we put on a joint concert, though perhaps that will confuse everyone even more. Well, it's either that, or start a long-running feud, Saruman and Gandalf-stylee. Hur hur.

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