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Disconcerto

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Rupert Jeffcoat
(with programme note by the composer)

Musicians play music. But musicians also play with music and Disconcerto invites you tonight to listen in, as I, they and you make music together.

There is an age-old assumption that music is a production line of 'composer-performer-listener', but it is not only more circular than that (the same person can be all three) but also more multi-dimensional than that. If Disconcerto helps explain this then great - if not, then you will still have hopefully had ten minutes of pastime with good company. It is not intended to be disconcerting, but is an alert that it is not quite like a normal concerto.

Baroque bands play concerti - works where players can display their wares and wiles - yet baroque music also encourages performers to add to the script with a 'practised spontaneous abandon'. Surface matters such as trills are theirs for the making, yet more structural matters such as pacing, balance and rhetoric are also parts of the equation that they have to make up, so in a very real sense, then, the performers create the piece.

But that's not the whole story, for when you listen to music (particularly this one) you may have a sense of familiarity with the style or with the composers who seem to flash by, since this piece deliberately steps on other people's concer-toes. This awareness of other musics is part of the work's construction, and as each person brings their own context and knowledge to their participation, it can be said that in a very real sense, the listeners too create the piece.

The introduction is a scan through the contents page of 'The Baroque', as if we are listening in to the merry band fipping through their repertoire to see what to play. They take the cellist's suggestion and graft a piece on to the recurring bass, complete with the odd out-of-place note. After a brief tea-break, they begin a chaconne where the theme seems to grows out of their own exploration. Having settled on an absurdly chromatic theme (it was perhaps not tea, after all!) they are committed to seeing it through, even though this means journeying through distant lands, and it might seem the only survivors are the low strings (a sedentary profession has its advantages!). As if by magic, they
are plucked back into life and have a go at improvising a fugal movement - as it blends some Brandenburg concerto with a tarantella,its lively offspring is perhaps a brandentella!

Many composers (unwittingly) contributed to this work, and while I wrote the notes, such important matters as the textures, processes
and musical figurations employed are all theirs, so they - in a Disconcerto - must take some of the discredit."

Rupert Jeffcoat


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Updated Jan-10-2018 at 20:07 by Taggart

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