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UpClose: ‘If…’ by Bill Ryder-Jones

Manchester Camerata

Manchester Cathedral, 9 October 2014

Among the magnificent surroundings of Manchester Cathedral, Bill Ryder-Jones performed songs from his debut album, originally released in 2011.

Throughout, the former guitarist with The Coral was aided by a fleet of musicians, some from Manchester Camerata.

The album is a riff on Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller, which is Ryder-Jones’ favourite novel.  Rather than, say, the best novel ever written about a rock band: From Blue to Black by the brilliant Joel Lane.  Ryder-Jones didn’t go on to say what his favourite passage in Calvino’s novel was, though personally I’d plumb for the portion entitled Without fear of wind or vertigo.  We heard John Simm read several passages from the novel, but nothing I think from this one.

Anyway, the music here was as variegated and inventive as the source text.  And full of subtle melody.  The best moments were when Ryder-Jones’ electric guitar clashed with/played beside the Camerata’s classical instruments.  It made you yearn for some kind of rock/baroque fusion.

Splendidly fabulist fare.

You can listen to a version of If… here.

Or view forthcoming concerts from the Manchester Camerata here.