Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival 2017

Mesmerising gala concert at Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival 2017

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Hopefully I wasn’t the only one present not quite sure what to expect from a Concerto for Beatboxer. But knowing that the work was co-written by Eduardo Reck Miranda, Professor in Computer Music at Plymouth University, the musical credentials should be well assured.

In the event, we were left totally mesmerised by the sheer originality and ingenuity of beatboxer Butterscotch’s performance, and the way her contribution integrated seamlessly with Peninsula Arts Sinfonietta, just like any regular concerto-soloist. Of course, the instrumentalists’ expertise, and conductor Simon Ible’s infallible direction also played a vital part here.

Her solo opening gambit, Native Alien, gave a great insight into what she could achieve purely with mouth and vocal sounds, and an electronic looping-device to build up her backing, over which she could eventually sing.

Eduardo’s Vōv – for vocal quartet, xylophone, and a plethora of electronic sounds, and based on a newly-invented language – provided a thought-provoking starter, after which Linas Baltas’s Real Voices – Dining came as a great bit of light-hearted fun.

Núria Bonet’s Wasgiischwashäsch offered an interesting concept, using Switzerland’s climate-changes from 1920 to 2015 to generate a programme that could apply the same degrees of change to the musical fabric of Rossini’s William Tell Overture, in terms of pitch, rhythm, and various other parameters.

Whether this year’s event was more accessible overall, it certainly proved a really entertaining, and enlightening evening.

PHILIP R BUTTALL