Review, Lucy Railton & Joseph Houston, Patterns in a Chromatic Field, Kings Place, London by James Ellis

 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

A return to Venue 1 of Kings Place prior to lockdown is a thrill. In hearing one of Morton Feldman’s larger pieces, requires a lot of concentration. Its the sparseness which is easy to recall, some would declare it as creepy, squeeky door horror. Not so…

In this 80 minute work for cello and piano, Patterns in a Chromatic Field unfolds and has a lot of allure. The cello here does not weep, it moans, sighs and squeeks. The piano adds another depth, not quite accompliment, more the second sphere to this cocktail. Feldman’s sombre and sober visions makes for a wonderful aura in the concert space. The momentum gradually increases, the cello plays with a more free and expressive direction. So easy to get lost in a work like this.

The strange plateaus hoover around and leave as if a ghost. I found it become almost touching, the ending alone with the silence had a huge impact. It’s very easy to hear Webern and Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. Lucy Railton had such stamina throughout. All the odd, little techniques shone, each phases a new journey. Joseph Houston had fantastic moments on the keys. Total softness and brooding lower register come to mind. It took about two thirds in to fall into the piece for me, I still found it demanding. The audience around me were geared up with coffee or beer. A young girl chattered only a little during and a phone or two went off. They didn’t disrupt the atmosphere, as the music is so thick. Me being so tried only complimented the theme.

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