north east scotland's festival of new music

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Hero as a Riddle

Written by Neil Jones, The Scotsman

reproduced with permission

article | The Scotsman

Classical Review - Hero as a Riddle ***

Saxophonist and composer Martin Kershaw assembled a sparkling and talented ten-strong ensemble to perform the world premiere of his new piece, Hero as a Riddle, taking as his inspiration the work of the artist Eduardo Paolozzi.

Kershaw's music showed a tremendous variety of texture and colour.

The introduction started as a cacophony, gradually developing into a powerful, if chaotic, piece where the percussion became dominant.

This was followed by Appel-Calder, with a terrific trombone feature for Phil O'Malley, and then Marquette, a gentler, classical-sounding piece where the electric string section expressed their virtuosity. The following piece, Vulcan, took us back into the jazz genre, with the whole ensemble producing a powerful sound where the whole was distinctly more than the sum of the parts.

After the interval we were treated to a fascinating demonstration of pizzicato by the three string players in Cleish Ceiling Sketch, which had a distinctly Oriental sound that, oddly, the following piece, Hamlet in a Japanese Manner, didn't. This, though, was enjoyable and lively, with Kershaw himself doing a terrific job on the saxophone.

Next up was His Majesty the Wheel which, after a nightmarish opening, moved into an extended and intricate piano section where Paul Harrison was simply sublime. The final piece of the night, Hero as a Riddle, was almost conventional by comparison with what had gone on before, although it gave Ryan Quigley on the trumpet an opportunity to shine.

This was a fascinating work that deserves more performances.

reproduced by kind permission of The Scotsman.

events mentioned
  Date Day Time Location Event Details

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31Fri8.30 pmAberdeenHero as a Riddle, by Martin Kershaw