Wimbledon International Music Festival | Review: This is Our Town Wimbledon

Percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie dazzled the audience with a virtuoso performance as part of Wimbledon International Music Festival on November 16.

When you’re looking through a programme of events and you see one with just a percussionist and a pianist, it may not be the first thing that appeals to you.

However when the percussionist is Dame Evelyn Glennie, you should take note and ensure you have a seat. […]

The concert opened with Keiko Abe’s Prism Rhapsody. Originally written for solo marimba with orchestra, this adaptation saw Glennie and pianist Philip Smith share some of the orchestral roles. Glennie’s marimba performance was astounding, playing from memory with up to six sticks which moved faster than the eye could see.

The recital continued with pieces performed on the Halo Drum, a relatively new instrument resembling an inverted steel drum, and one which showed off the percussive side of the piano married with cymbals, woodblocks and vibraphone.

Following the interval were two pieces augumented by backing tracks.

The first was adapted from a dance piece with loud percussive sounds that reverberated through the chest providing a sensory experience as well as an auditory one.

The finale, View from Olympus, a Double Concerto for Percussion, Piano and Orchestra with composer John Psathas’ digitised orchestra providing a backing track. The style of the piece was reminiscent of the layering on Tubular Bells with Glennie playing a repetitious melody on the marimba which the “orchestra” took over while she continued with a different melody.

Throughout the evening Glennie was accompanied by her collaborator of over 25 years Philip Smith, regarded as one of Britain’s best pianists, performing solo and chamber recitals and concerto performances.

As an encore, in complete contrast to the rest of the evening, Glennie joined Smith at the piano to perform Psathas’ Fragments, a wonderful soothing piece to end a superb concert.

If you get the chance, grab a seat. […]

Wimbledon International Music Festival, Wimbledon
16 November 2016

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