Some great reviews have come in for Ensemble Offspring’s Spectral Tech concert on September 29 which featured my latest solo percussion piece, a line is a dot that went for a walk, performed by Claire Edwardes.
Coelho’s A line is a dot that went for a walk didn’t so much boil as explode, with a ferocious latter section that challenged even Claire Edwardes, who flew solo on vibraphone and auxiliary percussion. The work’s opening section, however, was very restrained, and absorbing for all its tasty tone colours, from the purity of the singing bowls to the profane buzz wrought from a mallet with a small chain tied on near the head
Tristan Coelho’s A line is a dot that went for a walk – commissioned by Baiba Berzins for her 70th birthday – was reflective, particularly in the beautiful and meditative first movement. The title for this percussion solo, with vibraphone at its heart, comes from a quote by the artist Paul Klee and the work pays homage to Franco Donatoni’s vibraphone solo Omar. With a couple of simple ‘preparations’ – one mallet headless, another sporting a delicate metal chain that rang hauntingly against the bars of the vibraphone – Edwardes gave a magical performance, creating a distinctive sound world, gently reminiscent of the Indonesian gamelan in its variety of timbres, supplemented by an assortment of singing bowls. Edwardes described the work’s second movement as a “sonic onslaught” for vibraphone, and it saw her give a virtuosic performance carving out crisper, rhythmic timbres against the vibraphone’s glow with tom-tom and bongo. The piece finished movingly with the slow beat of shoulder-rubbing frequencies fading into silence.