December Things

Cartaz FIP

The year end­ed with a serendip­i­tous, iron­ic par­al­lel that would’ve been laughed off a piece of cre­ative writ­ing as too heavy-handed”.

On the 13th, All end­ings are sad, all end­less things are impos­si­ble to bear saw its sec­ond out­ing. Again by the bril­liant Sond’Ar-te Elec­tric Ensem­ble (who com­mis­sioned it), again at their home­stead O’cul­to da Aju­da, in Lis­bon; this time around, how­ev­er, at the hands of the bril­liant per­cus­sion­ist and cham­pi­on of con­tem­po­rary music Pedro Carneiro.

Cartaz sondarte

The orig­i­nal per­for­mance had been great, but this sec­ond one, a year after, grew con­sid­er­ably in all the good kinds of both loose­ness and tight­ness. A reminder of the way we need to allow pieces to grow and take root in those who play them and hear them — very much against the grain of today’s rhythm.

And then, just before New Year’s, it was the pre­mière of Things are lazy but want to be free, for sev­en per­cus­sion­ists — entire­ly unaware that I had already expound­ed on the behav­ior of things (what­ev­er those things may be) in a piece title less than a year ago. The pre­mière took place at the final con­cert of this year’s Fes­ti­val Itin­er­ante de Per­cussão, con­duct­ed by the bril­liant… per­cus­sion­ist and, err, cham­pi­on of con­tem­po­rary music Nuno Aroso.

The fes­ti­val fea­tured some of today’s lead­ing per­cus­sion­ists in Por­tu­gal in their capac­i­ty as teach­ers and depart­ment heads of our insti­tu­tions of high­er learn­ing — as well as a bevy of con­tem­po­rary music! There might not be a bet­ter place for a com­pos­er than a per­cus­sion fes­ti­val: per­cus­sion­ists were always hap­py and will­ing part­ners-in-crime of advances in the music through­out the 20th cen­tu­ry, and that ethos is very much still alive. In fact, despite the fact that I was work­ing with uni­ver­si­ty-lev­el play­ers, I left rehearsal hav­ing learned a thing or two, with a cou­ple new addi­tions to my bag of tricks in ways I def­i­nite­ly did­n’t when work­ing with top-lev­el ensem­bles in a ped­a­gog­i­cal set­ting dur­ing my own training.