Thomas Adès: Piano Quintet; Tullis Rennie: 48 Hours
Moving Furniture MFRC003 50:26 mins
This intriguing debut release from Vonnegut Collective reflects their ethos in aiming not just to deliver exemplary performances, but to open windows onto their creative practice as an ensemble, offering insights into contemporary music to as wide an audience as possible.
Here they combine a thrilling performance of Adès’s immensely challenging, time-warping Piano Quintet (2000) with a new experimental piece by Tullis Rennie. Titled 48 Hours, the work interweaves recordings and interviews made during an intense fortnight of rehearsal on the Adès with interpretation of a graphic score which includes trumpet and electronics. Both directly relating to and completely contrasting the Adès, the Rennie is more effective as an oblique introduction to it than as a standalone piece. But combining the two signals a refreshingly open, creative approach to repertoire and the different lights thrown upon it according to context.
That the Vonnegut perform the Quintet with such verve after just five years together speaks to the strength of that approach, as well as their musicianship. Lithe and sinuous yet tautly precise, the work’s astonishing unity of form and content unfolds through lines and textures delivered with passion as well as structural clarity. Savagely elegant, approachable – and wholly satisfying.