Sound Festival 2016



La presse en parle


David Kettle, The Scotsman, 1 novembre 2016

You’ve got to hand it to Aberdeen’s sound festival. It’s a fine balancing act: celebrating new sounds whatever the genre (with classical, jazz, electronica and more all getting a look-in this year); finding a compelling theme for intensive exploration (this year, string quartets); and, crucially, casting its net wide to Europe and beyond to invite in some of the world’s top contemporary music names. sound pulls it off brilliantly, though — and this year’s festival was nothing if not outward-looking.

All the way to Canada, for instance, for the opening concert in the festival’s big string quartet weekend, on Friday afternoon. New music specialists the Bozzini Quartet had jetted in for nothing less than a history of the 20th- and 21st-century string quartet in lecture/recital Traces (★★★) — although the lecture side could have done with more polish and substance to make it truly enlightening, and for it to match the flair and fantasy of their remarkably vivid performances. Their Stravinsky Three Pieces from way back in 1914, for instance, sounded as fresh and raw as if its ink were still wet.

The Bozzinis returned that evening, however, for an astonishing concert (★★★★★) that challenged the whole way we preceive music. Three “deep listening” works — by Scelsi, Alvin Lucier and Swiss composer Jürg Frey — might have tried the patience in conventional terms, but immerse yourself in their minute inflections of pitch and bizarre acoustic effects, and a whole universe of subtleties emerged. It was quite simply a revelation, a cleansing of the ears, and played with matchless conviction and immaculate technique.

★★★★★ — It was quite simply a revelation, a cleansing of the ears, and played with matchless conviction and immaculate technique.

Bozzini Quartet review — splendid tour through the sounds of silence

Kate Molleson, The Guardian, 30 octobre 2016

This concert wasn’t even supposed to happen, but the violinist of Red Note Ensemble — Sound festival’s original Friday billing — cut her finger slicing a lemon and Montréal’s Bozzini Quartet stepped in last minute. It is an impressive festival that has a group this good up its sleeve.

The new programme was brief and splendid: three works exploring the quietest possible sounds made with the fewest notes, and a lot of silence in between. Alvin Lucier’s Disappearances is a study in dissipation and refocusing, all unison tones that darken and brighten until we hear the tiniest of gradations. As a concert opener, it was an exercise in what Murray Schafer calls “ear cleaning” or Pauline Oliveros calls “deep listening”. Giacinto Scelsi’s Third Quartet is a tetchier poke around the perimeters of quietness, featuring movements with names such as The Great Tenderness that throng in close intervals then dilate into surprising, glittering triads.

And while it might seem paradoxical to be good at playing the music of Jürg Frey — a Swiss ultra-slowist who claims that “characterisation would disturb… the beauty hidden deep in the tones” — the Bozzinis have a wonderful way with his exquisite monochromes. They know when not to play, and are athletically calm while unfolding soft sounds at a pace as natural as breathing. I’ve heard them perform Frey’s quartets in a church, whose acoustic shrouded the drifting chords in ecstatic mystique; here at the Lemon Tree, dry as a stone, the impact was less blissed out, more raspy and vulnerable. No sound escaped Frey’s silent architecture. A stomach rumbled. My pencil scratched thunderously in my notebook.

★★★★★ — Bozzinis have a wonderful way with his exquisite monochromes