Shapeshifter

There was something for every fan of minimalism when Trinity Laban ensemble Shapeshifter performed pieces by Steve Reich and Louis Andriessen at Blackheath Halls.
For those who like their minimalism, well, minimal, the fiendish rhythms of Reich’s duet Clapping Music was perfection thanks to a bravura performance by Malgorzata Kepa and Rhys Davies. And conductor Matthew Coorey led a gorgeous rendition of the American’s masterpiece City Life with its score featuring traditional strings, woodwind, piano and percussion as well as a live sampler delivering urban sound effects that were as much a part of the composition as the notes played by the 17 musicians. For those who prefer their minimalism to have a bit more meat, Louis Andriessen’s De Staat was an ideal contrast, the Dutch composer riffing off Reich’s repeating phrases while adding a serious dose of big band jazz and European dissonance with four singers and 28 instruments including electric guitars, violas, oboes, cor anglais, pianos, harps and a 13-strong brass section. The entire concert managed to be challenging and joyful at the same time – for Shapeshifter as well as the audience. Great stuff.  

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