RNCM Big Band and Chamber Orchestra with Markus Stockhausen
RNCM Theatre, 24 March 2018
Markus Stockhausen joyfully flung open the floodgates.
That allowed a deluge of fine musical composition and freefall improvisation to engulf the stage, wave following upon viral wave.
We began with Miniatur einer Seelenreise, a stirring work foregrounding trumpet (which Stockhausen played) and strings (the Chamber Orchestra, primarily). This duly segued into a riot of avant-garde improvisation (‘intuitive music’, so-called) that intrigued and somehow kept your attention. ‘Well, you tell me,’ was the perplexed judgement of the man who sat behind me. Being momentarily speechless myself, I instead smiled and left for the interval where I chomped on some Ritter chocolate.
The second half saw Tanzendes Licht, apparently a homage to Paul Klee but, anyway, magnificent and flowing and (come to think of it) as elegant as the artist’s line. Altogether wonderful, a supremely graceful use of time: you didn’t want it to ever end, which is one (defining?) quality of beautiful music.
In the next work (alas, Tanzendes Licht did end), Felice, the jazz musicians got to really kick out and a roaring spate of solos occurred: we heard terrific flights of fancy on guitar, drums, trumpet and trombone, saxophone… you name it. Their playing was phenomenal and rightly garnered applause, not least from the man who was sat behind me. For an encore, the musicians played Felice again – well, not exactly: like all fine jazz players, they could not repeat themselves anymore than Heraclitus’ warrior could step into the same river twice. Anyway, the encore made the man behind me even happier.
I was happy too.