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Leading American composer John Corigliano had reservations about writing a percussion concerto, but the challenge fascinated him. The result is Conjurer, a concerto for percussion like no other, in which ‘wood, metal and skin’ are utilised in such a way that the soloist, Dame Evelyn Glennie – the world’s greatest percussion virtuoso – ‘conjures’ the musical material from these three choirs, and the orchestra then shares and develops the themes. Vocalise employs electronics in a way that serves to heighten the expressive beauty of the writing, gradually leading the listener from a purely acoustic experience to one that becomes suffused by amplification and electronics.
Awarded Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2007, Evelyn Glennie is the first person in musical history successfully to create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist. She is the leading commissioner of around 170 new works for solo percussion from many of the world’s most eminent composers.
John Corigliano: Conjurer
John Corigliano: Vocalise
12th February 2014
“I simply can’t remember when I’ve heard percussion arrays captured with such realism...Climaxes are thrilling and fatigue-free, and the soundstage is wide and wondrous. Goodness, what mellifluous and haunting sounds composer and soloist conjure up...Fresh, vital, vigorous; contemporary music of quality, winningly played.”