Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Four Seasons Summer Concert at The Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Friday 15th July 2011 19.30 performance
In what threatened to be a rain soaked Yorkshire Sculpture Park on an otherwise agreeable Friday evening, the second Four Seasons concert, Summer, began in James Turrell’s Skyspace situated within the parks 18th century grade II listed deer shelter. Manasamitra presented Venkatesh Chandirasekharan on mridangam, Kamaljeet Ajimal on santoor and Supriya Nagarajan on vocals, to bring to life the Skyspace with a selection of Indian music, affording those present the opportunity to experience this art form intimately, and with the benefit of the panorama of the sky through the cut out window in the roof of the shelter. Manasamitra, a Yorkshire based artist led collective who, having performed at the Sculpture Park previously, in equally inspiring locations, were well placed on this occasion to engage those present.
After twenty or thirty minutes in the company of Manasamitra, the audience were led out of the deer shelter and across the park to St. Bartholomew’s Chapel for the remainder of the programme. Built in 1744 and converted into an exhibition space in 2009, the chapel, illuminated by candles, both amongst the performers and surrounding the outer walls, provided an entirely mesmerising environment for the players from Opera North to perform. The programme itself consisted of works, some well known, some not so, interspersed with readings from classical and contemporary verse ranging from Shakespeare, Carol Ann Duffy, Philip Levine to the Irish poet Paul Durcan, read by the musical director and cellist Matthew Sharp. Durcan’s “My Beloved Compares Herself to a Pint of Stout” was without doubt a brave and ultimately rewarding way to open the readings. With Sharp this evening were Aisha Orazbayeva on violin, Mark Wilde voice and Joby Burgess on percussion. Some of the more obvious seasonal pieces, Vivaldi’s “Summer-3rd Movement, Presto”, Vaughan Williams “The Lark Ascending” and Ives “In Summerfields” provided familiar surroundings from which to engage with the lesser known works. Particularly striking (literally) and well received was the Greek Iannis Xenakis’s “Rebonds b” a muscular, percussive piece, made all the more meaningful due to the close proximity to the instruments themselves, performed by Burgess, to a stunned audience. The atmosphere created within the chapel by the performances themselves and the sense of occasion created by the intimate space, would have been especially difficult to replicate within a conventional auditorium.Concluding the evening with Ravel’s “Duo-2nd Movement” and Strauss/Mackay’s “Morgen!” it was left to the audience to pick themselves back home, out of the chapel, and up through the sheep and the magnificent Juame Plensa sculptures. Only at this point did the rain appear, but it was to the credit of all those concerned that this rather damp end to the evening did not wash away any of the enchantment brought about by the performances on offer.

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