Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mesh / Jumper

No, not that kind of "mesh jumper" (though it probably won't do my blog statistics any harm if previous experience is typical).

Last weekend I went to a concert by Meadows Chamber Orchestra, Edinburgh's (if not Britain's) foremost amateur orchestra. As well as a Bach keyboard concerto and Schubert's 9th Symphony, the MCO gand their conductor Peter Evans gave the premiere of Mesh by Jonathan Pitkin. Mesh is a work whose harmonies all derive from two interlocking chords (augmented triads) . Pitkin uses thes sometimes chordally and sometimes to generate melodic fragments, which in turn are developed by the use of various rhythmic procedures such as repetition with progressively shorter durations (a technique which the composer rightly pointed out as being used in the Schubert symphony as well).

I wasn't familiar with any of Jonathan Pitkin's previous work, but I certainly liked Mesh. The description of the interlocking triads sounds somewhat dry, but the opening instantly called to mind the First Sea Interlude from Peter Grimes by Britten (though in his case the paired triads are diminished rather than augmented). That gives a flavour of how the music comes across: spare, atmospheric and, yes, complex, but never simply an academic exercise but a composition with real emotional power. I'm sure we shall hear more of Mesh, and of Jonathan Pitkin. (Oh, and while I'm still not a fan of Schubert's Ninth, the MCO's performance was the least boring I've ever heard. I think I only zoned out for a few minutes in the interminable last movement, which really is quite an achievement on their part.)

I also went with my son to see Jumper, starring Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell and Samuel L Jackson. I wasn't expecting too much from it, and certainly Hayden Christensen's acting was as wooden as in the Star Wars films. The plot was simplistic (a group of people with the ability to teleport; another group dedicated to killing them) and not too well-developed, though as the makers are obviously planning a sequel that probably explains that. Samuel L Jackson was watchable as always, though his lines weren't brilliant. The film, though, belonged to Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, Hallam Foe). His arrival on the scene lifted the film from mediocrity to enjoyable hokum. I hadn't seen him in an action role before; but mostly I was struck by how much like Robert Carlyle he is beginning to look. One must also mention the special effects, which are extremely well done (e.g. when jumpers arrive at a place, the floor is stove in underneath them by a sphere of air that goes with them). Not a great movie, but not a bad one either.


At 13 March, 2008 10:47, Blogger Chip said...

I am really sorry I missed the concert - but homework called. Hilary spoke highly of the new piece as well. I hope my own premiere does as well.

At 13 March, 2008 15:59, Anonymous JoeInVegas said...

Well, thanks for that imaginative shot (I think)


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