Review Rosewood, Manchester Collective, RWCMD by James Ellis

Photo credit: Camilla Greenwell

 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

In their most recent outing, the Manchester Collective are wowing audiences with Rosewood, featuring Scottish guitarist Sean Shibe. John Cage’s 6 Melodies starts us off with restrictive playing and a strict atmosphere of music making. Highly minimalist, Cage has given the players strict methods of playing and how many notes to be heard also. The concert takes it’s name from David Fennessy, now pluralised to Rosewoods. Inspire by an Italian church in Orkney, this delightful piece bringing the crisp air and stunning landscapes of the islands to life.

Kelly Moran offered up a touching personal note of bereavement and heart break in her Living Again. Some fine cello playing here aside Sean on electric guitar gave soft tones, a very pretty piece and not ashamed to admit it. The traditional piece La Folia, was given a sideways look with a fabulous reimagining from the whole quartet and Sean. Perhaps his arrangement both sums up these players who look back to the past and are still looking forward. Their was a vitality to this outing and they really knocked it out of the park. David Lang’s Killer felt a world away from his softer, modest work. This brazen, brash piece stunned with it’s jolting swipes and strikes, the guitar shining, the strings roaring. Majestic.

Emily Hall and her Potential Space started with Sean playing a violin bow on his electric guitar, something which impressed my plus one. This remained another fine premier, I was quite taken with it’s approach, the string starting off pizzicato and Sean getting many highlights, his talents and hunger for the experimental never wavering. This wonderful night wrapped up with a composer getting the popularity he always deserved: Julius Eastman. His Buddha, sees an egg like formation baked in the sheet music, with some performances lasting two hours. It was a slight affair, though it felt like a highly ambient version of this odd little piece. It never over stayed its welcome and left us highly satisfied with a fabulous night.

This golden concert is continuing proof of the Manchester Collective’s genius. See on tour!

Rosewood continues on tour to Saffron Walden, Nottingham, Leeds, Salford, Liverpool & London.

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