A short word on Chiyoko Szlavnics

I won’t be at Music We’d Like To Hear tonight because I have tickets for McKellen/Stewart in Godot. But I did want to say something about last week’s concert, and particularly the music of Chiyoko Szlavnics.

Szlavnics‘ name was completely new to me (this was her first UK performance), but I was absolutely bowled over by her music. Five pieces, each a few minutes long, from her cycle Cilia Tremble were played: For JT, For CN, For TN, For BN and Triptych for AS. Each is composed on the basis of line drawings like this:

… so lots of sustained tones, clusters, slow glissandi, etc. They were written for 2 violins, accordion and sine tone generators. One comes across a lot of hands-off, ultra-cool experimental music. This is fine, and I enjoy listening to it. What I loved about Szlavnics’ music was this: that although she was writing in this intensely abstract way, she hadn’t gone completely white and sans-serif about it. These were extremely expressive pieces, each had its distinctive flavour and dramatic shape. I loved them; don’t know where I’m going to get the chance to hear any more though, which I suppose is the joy and the sadness of MWLTH. You should go tonight, just in case you make a similar discovery.

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