Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Trip to Cork, Part 2: Kaleidoscope

After the show we drifted off to Callanans, a nice pub on the quays that has become one or our haunts in that city. One thing Cork is famous for is having two different mass produced local stouts, Beamish and Murphy's*. I started off with a pint of Beamish, the inferior of the two. While quaffing away I noticed an older gentleman in a baseball cap leaving, and realised that he was none other than Steve Reich. Now, why was Mr Reich down in Cork? For the simple reason that the Reich Effect, a festival devoted to music by, inspired by, or vaguely related to him, was taking place in that proud city. And indeed, even though he had taken his leave, the pub still had various members of the Crash Ensemble and the Dublin avant-garde classical music scene knocking around in it. I overheard a bit of barman chitchat about the composer, which went something like this:

Barman A: So that fella's well known?

Barman B: Oh yeah, he's a famous composer.

Barman A: Jaysus. And did he drink his Murphy's?

Barman B: He gave it a go.

The Reich Effect taking place while we were on our brief visit to Cork was convenient, and we arranged to attend the Kaleidoscope Caravan club night on the following evening. I may have mentioned this before – it is a Dublin club night run by Cliodhna Ryan and Kate Ellis (both of the Crash Ensemble and other things) where chamber music old and new is played in the intimate setting of the upstairs club space of the Odessa restaurant, where people can drink cocktails or more normal drinks in a relaxed fashion while listening to delightful music.

This kind of thing is self-evidently a good idea and so much the kind of thing I like that it is amazing that my attending their visit to Cork represented the first time I have ever made it to a Kaleidoscope event. My failure to make it to their Dublin events tends to stem from a combination of my own disorganisation, their nights clashing with nights I have to work late, and the small venue always being full of the Kaleidoscope performers' friends and relations by the time I try to get a ticket. But in Cork I had my beloved on the case, and she picked up tickets for us online.

Five pieces were played. First of all, we had a Bach sonata in G minor. This was introduced as being one of Bach's less performed pieces, which was odd as it sounded very Bach-like to me. But it did make me think that I really must further explore Bach's music, as there is an astonishing beauty to it and he does seem to deserve his reputation as one of the three greatest composers of all time.

After that we had a famous piece of Javan Gamelan arranged for western instruments by Ergodos superstar Garret Sholdice, which made for an intellectually interesting juxtaposition of styles. That was followed by a beautiful performance of Igor Stravinsky scored Russian peasant songs, sung unaccompanied by Michelle O'Rourke and other singers whose faces I recognise from this kind of event. A John Zorn piece saw cellist Jeffrey Ziegler of the Kronos Quartet joining the Irish performers, which led to excitable screaming from the young ladies in the crowd. My notes on this piece, however, contain the cryptic phrase "Fiddler on the roof?". The concert finished with White Man Sleeps, a Kevin Volans piece for sting quartet, for which my notes say "Pan-Pipes?".

After that we could have stayed for music DJed by Donal Dineen, but it had been a long evening and I was feeling a bit *tired*, so we slunk off back to bad. And that, pretty much, was that. It was an enjoyable evening, though there was the slight sense that all the other performers and audience members were on the most intimate terms.

*Dublin only has one.

Panda Caravan

An inuit panda production

No comments: