'You are letting go of control': Two New Works by Sebastian Adams on Tour
Violinist Yury Revich and cellist Benedict Kloeckner will perform together for the first time in Ireland in a Music Network tour from 7 to 12 November, with a programme including a new commission by Irish composer Sebastian Adams, 2018.3.
Another new, similarly titled work, 2018.2, will be performed by the Irish Chamber Orchestra as part of their Spotlight concerts on 15–17 November. Adams spoke to The Journal of Music about the upcoming performances, and the unusual titles:
I feel that titles can lead the audience down a certain path so unless I definitely want to do that, I tend not to give my pieces obvious titles, except for every now and then if it feels appropriate. Normally I use a numbering system based on the year and the number of pieces written in that year.
Adams is a string player himself, and the semi-improvisatory 2018.3 for Revich and Kloeckner seeks to emulate the sound of a viola de gamba – ‘plain, delicate, subtle, rich in harmonic content’. The piece also includes some retuning to echo the ‘looser sounds of the low strings’ of the instrument.
The piece came from an improvisation which was done on the viola de gamba and recorded and looped over itself. I was trying to emulate that sound and the freedom of the piece when I was actually writing it down.
The performers, Revich and Kloeckner, both under 30, are acclaimed young classical musicians: Revich made his debut at Carnegie Hall in 2009, and won the Young Artist of the Year at the International Classical Music Awards in 2015; Kloeckner has performed at the Berlin Philharmoniker Hall and the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. Both regularly collaborate with living composers – Revich with Johanna Doderer, and Kloeckner with Wolfgang Rihm and Howard Blake.
Though Adams didn’t have a chance to work with the performers directly in the composition of 2018.3, the piece allows space for their own backgrounds and approaches to emerge
One of the things with a piece like this is you are letting go of control a little bit, so the players’ background and ideas become a more obvious part of the piece than other written music.
The work for the ICO, 2018.2 also explores the possibilities of the individuals in the orchestra. It represents ‘a kind of controlled chaos that reminds me of the natural world: each player interprets the same instruction differently and is kept on the same path by external conditions (the influence of the conductor)’.
Space and atmosphere
The venues and spaces of the performance for 2018.3 will also have an influence on the piece: the programme notes specify that ‘attention should be paid to the space, audience and atmosphere’ when interpreting the piece.
I suppose what’s different about [a Music Network tour] is that it is going to five or six different places around the country, and several places my music has never been played before, so I think that was at the back of my mind.
The tour with Yury Revich and Benedict Kloeckner will begin in Dublin on 7 November , and visit Clifden (8 Nov.), Letterkenny (9 Nov.), Birr (10 Nov.), Sligo (11 Nov.) and Castlebar (12 Nov.). As well as the new work by Adams, the programme also features music by Bach, Glière, Kreisler, Rolla, Paganini, Ysaÿe and Ravel.
The Irish Chamber Orchestra tour begins on Thursday 15 November in Limerick and then visits Cork (16 Nov.) and Waterford (17 Nov.). The programme also features Puccini, Stamitz and Tchaikovsky.
Published on 1 November 2018