REVIEW: Thurston Moore and London Sinfonietta at White Cube Bermondsey

Thurston Moore (left) with Scott Lygate and Oliver Lowe,
White Cube, Feb 2015
Drawing by Geoff Winston. © 2015. All Rights Reserved 

Thurston Moore and London Sinfonietta
(White Cube Bermondsey, 8th February 2015; part of Christian Marclay's exhibition programme; review and drawing by Geoff Winston)

Thurston Moore took on the mantle of guest composer and artist in the second of the series of London Sinfonietta commissions which are performed on Sunday afternoons, as part of Christian Marclay's music programme in his exhibition at Bermondsey's White Cube gallery. This was Moore's second appearance in two days, having taken part in Marclay's Singing Saws and Glass Harp on the previous afternoon (REVIEWED HERE).

The gallery was packed, and the adjoining space accommodated the overflow of people, who were able to hear the concert, if not to witness it - and the younger kids in the audience were given advance notice of 'loud parts'!

Moore took the stage with the four Sinfonietta musicians who had accompanied John Butcher in the inaugural commissioned work a week earlier - Jonathan Morton (violin), Tim Gill (cello), Scott Lygate (clarinet) and Oliver Lowe (percussion). They immediately established the mood for the evolution of the composition with a gentle, restrained introductory passage. Cello, violin and guitar concentrated on high areas of the fretboards, with plucks, clicks and shimmering tones augmented by deliberately hesitant interjections and light trills from the clarinet, and knitting needles skimming the cymbals.

A heightening of intensity with a metallic rush, as mallets impacted on cymbals, and Moore's mild feedback had the small youngsters beside the gongs and cymbals grinning excitedly, holding their hands to their ears.

The bowing of strings and deep cello resonances were offset by Moore's light chordal strums followed by the grinding out of a communal drone. He applied a drumstick to the fretboard, and lightly tapped and pounded the guitar body. In like mode, Lygate tapped on his keypads, Morton knocked the violin body, cueing Lowe to energetically amplify the percussive imperative, while Gill brushed his cello with the bow.

Lygate's merest whistling turned melodic as Moore imposed a tuneful, repetitive refrain with rustic undertones that might have been a sample from Copland's Appalachian Spring crossed with Riley's In C, to lead out the piece with calm deliberation and put a lyrical seal on this carefully paced series of segued statements. All of which can be revisited in vinyl specially pressed and packaged at White Cube during the exhibition.

LINKS: The Christian Marclay Exhibition on the White Cube website

Details of the eleven Sunday concerts at this exhibition are on the London Sinfonietta website The names of the solo performers and the works being performed are embargoed until the Wednesday before each weekend's concerts but there is an email sign-up:

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