mon 25/01/2021

Fast Food, Fast Music, Spitalfields Festival online - sizzling, scintillating fun and mastery | reviews, news & interviews

Fast Food, Fast Music, Spitalfields Festival online - sizzling, scintillating fun and mastery

Fast Food, Fast Music, Spitalfields Festival online - sizzling, scintillating fun and mastery

4am in a Birmingham McDonald's, eating/cooking alongside playing and other wonders

Presenter/curator/composer and musicians introduce the event

A good idea on paper – commission composers of all ages who happen to be women to write music for one, two or three instruments with the fundamental theme of swiftness and brevity, food element an optional extra – turns out to work brilliantly on screen, even if it was originally destined for a live lunchtime festival event.

A good idea on paper – commission composers of all ages who happen to be women to write music for one, two or three instruments with the fundamental theme of swiftness and brevity, food element an optional extra – turns out to work brilliantly on screen, even if it was originally destined for a live lunchtime festival event. Take 11 personable women – nine composers, including Spitalfields Festival curator and presenter Errollyn Wallen, viola-player and producer of the film Rita Porfiris and pianist Siwan Rhys – one man, very funny when necessary, violinist Anton Miller, blend skilfully and you have a banquet like no other you've ever tasted.

The brief of short works allows a whole range of styles and approaches to be showcased, while the option of bringing food into it offers video opportunities different from what you'd get in live performance. Tonal, mellifluous heart is to be found in Wallen’s Five Postcards and Susie Self’s Fast, while the first witty etching enters with the move from trio to solo viola in Joy Effiong’s Wings as Flippers, a portrait of a character she knows calledcalled “The Penguin” who moves with grace through the water. Rita Porfiris and Anton Miller playing in the kitchenRoughness enters the sound-picture in a more ironic approach to tonality, Victoria Benito’s All lovers do is orbit the sun, and the real eccentricities surfaces after the fun intervalette reflections on food, which then takes a more central part. Mystery is there in Joy Effiong’s trio piece Moloko, straightforward wit and brio in Sarah Rodgers’s Sizzle. Somehow I warmed most of all to the theme and execution of Millicent James’s Rush Hour Time!, a Birmingham student’s evocation of the 4am shift in McDonalds after a night on the town: kudos to Miller for donning a crazy wig, but the quality of his and Porfiris’s playing – the couple works professionally as a duo – is never in doubt.

The kitchen visuals carry Héloïse Warner’s Presto Pasta for violin(guini) and (ra)viola (Miller and Porfiris pictured above), and there’s an even quirky play-, sip- and munch-out in Jasmin Rodgman’s Mukbang, based on the South Korean online sensation of people eating in silence while you watch (who knew?): a final bow to the versatility of Rodgers, Porfiris and Rhys. Well worth the “ticket”, which will also bring you the Dunedin Consort and a song special where Wallen welcomes Katie Melua. This one gets five stars for originality and execution. Maybe Wallen can give us an adapted, even added-to version when the Spitalfields Festival goes live again next year.

The option of bringing food into the brief offers video opportunities different from what you'd get in live performance

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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