Sunday, February 15, 2015

Different Trains & WTC 9/11

Is Steve Reich the greatest living composer?

Such thoughts come naturally after hearing his haunting and powerful Different Trains this morning at Kings Place. It was immaculately played by the Carducci Quartet who stayed behind for an audience Q&A.

I've got the CD and had heard it many times but live there was an immediacy that grabbed, moving from pre-war America where trains were glamorous to Europe during the war when tracks would end at the horrors of Auschwitz.

It was paired with another Reich work, new to me, WTC 9/11. The musicians admitted they had problems rehearsing this, given the subject is so recent and raw. Also unlike Different Trains there is no resolution, no final movement "After the war" with a message of hope, proof of survival.

It was a concert from the highly recommended Minimalism Unwrapped season at this relatively new addition to London's classical music scene.
Kings Place itself is part of the huge regeneration of the area around Kings Cross Station. Unlike so many developments building luxury apartments for non-doms to leave empty, this one has 50% affordable housing and a new university, plus integration with Regents Canal and a little nature reserve.

Kings Cross is also, of course, the home of Platform 9 3/4 where the most famous train of them all, the Hogwarts Express, would steam north.

A different train indeed.

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