First sighting was of the lady in her black velvet trouser suit cutting paths across the vast foyer of the Barbican
, a blonde
tapping her shoulder occasionally to keep her on direction, the composer chewing all the fingers of her right hand. next was as Sofia Gubaidulina
took to the stage to bow to the applause, her dark eyes shining.
Last weekend was the Barbican's
January composer weekend, the first given to the work of a woman. The music was extraordinary (we went to a concert a day). Most effective for me was the first part of the world premiere or the 'Nadeyka
' Triptych, a piece in memoriam of Guabadulina's
playing 'The Lyre of Orpheus'. I had wanted to see Kremer
live for some time, with his ensemble the Baltica Kremerata
... the playing was electric, the piece astonishing, quavering unknown sounds, the solo violin merging in wholly new ways with the strings around it. Gubaidulina
is a mystic .... I came up with a word in a dream the other night, 'seerwycke
' or 'seerwick
', the application of mystical powers, and she was doing that, the music was clearly a psychic workover
, bass and treble notes doing their canny stuff, opening up different parts of you, one of those times when you sit in a concert hall and have been inverted somehow, what was deep brought to the surface, weakened and strengthened at the same time, gently weeping.
Normally that happens and that's it, it can't happen again for a while. But by the third part of the evening, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and 'A Feast During the Plague', a rousing loud piece which included recorded rock drumming as though Gubaidulina's
daughter was imposing her own favourite music from some
heavenly sound system, the magic was worked again, the head and body thrilled to it all.