Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Phrygian Gates

Last Friday I played John Adams's Phrygian Gates at La Fabrique des Arts, Carcassonne, along with Palais de Mari, the last of Morton Feldman's vast late piano pieces. I'm still using the score that the composer gave me when I met him in San Francisco in 1979 and we discussed the idea of amplified piano, with speakers surrounding the public. I first played the piece in London in 1980 and this was, apparently, its European première, then as last Friday, with amplified piano. The technicians did a great job on the sound, and superb lighting penetrating the swirling mists of banana-scented smoke.

In 1980 I also presented the piece for a Park Lane Group audition, an organisation set up to help the careers of young musicians who wanted to play contemporary music, by promoting concert opportunities. Minimalism was not taken seriously by the 'establishment' back then. Five minutes into the piece one of the jury raised his hand.."Stop! Does it GO ON like that?!"

The original poster...

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