Anna Meredith's 'Anno' receives Scottish premiere

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Last week saw Anna and Eleanor Meredith appear alongside the Scottish Ensemble for the Scottish premiere of widely acclaimed Anno. Combining Meredith’s own music and extracts from Vivaldi’s well known ‘Four Seasons’ alongside video installations by her sister Eleanor Meredith, Anno has been highly praised since its launch last summer, with the performances in Edinburgh and Glasgow being met with great acclaim.

Scottish Ensemble and Anna Meredith: Anno from Scottish Ensemble on Vimeo.

 

Press

 

“…it beguiles in exactly the gently confusing way Morton wanted. Anna’s remix avoids the biggest tunes. As a composer drawn to fragments and loops – and who currently spends much of her time making romping avant synthpop – she homes in on the most tetchy, evasive and repetitive aspects of the concertos, then dismantles and smudges them into plush electronic builds.

More than anything else she’s done, Anno blends her classical and club personas and proves that the fusion can work. It helps that the Scottish Ensemble attacks it all with such nimble, kinetic energy, and that Eleanor’s visuals are such eloquent counterparts. Her animated watercolours, projected on to massive screens surrounding musicians and audience, are playful, redolent and occasionally menacing.”

The Guardian (Kate Molleson), 14 November 2016

 

 

“…a fascinating multi-media re-imagination of the familiar Baroque potboiler, with agile multi-screen visuals by Meredith’s sister Eleanor…

Tangible anticipation filled the darkened Tramway auditorium, the audience seated on scattered stools within a ritualistic semicircle of screens – a kind of cinema-age Stonehenge.As the performance came to life, abstract images appeared sporadically on screen and throbbing electronic sounds emerged under the laptop control of Meredith. The Ensemble itself emerged from the sidelines, playing enigmatic trills that hinted of Vivaldi reborn for the electronic age.

What followed was as much about Meredith as it was about Vivaldi. Nothing apologetic or reverential in the boldness of her writing. There was subtlety and nuance as her free-flowing diversions took flight, but equally that hard-edged attitude that is the distinctive, ballsy hallmark of her music.”

Vivaldi provided the heart and the thread – selected movements from each of the Seasons, some of them given an extra shot of adrenalin, such as the super-sensitising effect of the col legno strings in Winter - around which Meredith’s unfettered inventions, ranging from parodic twiddles and ethereal fireworks to brutal electronica and gut-wrenching techno, acted like a simultaneous translation from the real to the surreal.And what of those visual animations by visual artist Eleanor? They ranged from flighty, frenetic doodles to soft, dancing pastel-shades, and strolling blob-like figures straight out of a kid’s story book. Their relevance wasn’t always crystal clear, but their abstract energy and presence was added a stimulating dimension.Scottish Ensemble artistic director Jonathan Morton invested his Vivaldi solos with fieriest of virtuoso sprit, and drew the same from the strings as a whole - amplified by their progressive movement around the performance space. We all came out invigorated and smiling, Vivaldi included.”

The Scotsman (Ken Walton), 12 November 2016

 

 

“The familiarity with which most of us listen to these concerti can render much of the original meaning of his Four Seasons slightly lost. The Scottish Ensemble’s invigorating portrayal of Vivaldi’s music in such a new artistic environment, coupled with Anna Meredith’s dynamic, driven compositions remind us that the natural world is not just a thing of beauty, but a powerful force to be reckoned with.  Her music dovetails perfectly with Vivaldi’s, despite being written centuries apart, the thick musical tapestry gently jarring, yet at times also richly soothing.

Depicting the cyclical nature of the Earth and its seasons, the players move round the performance space, thus giving the audience varying aural angles, before silently peeling off as the lights and music slowly melt away, leaving the audience once again surrounded by a still, dark silence.”

Herald Scotland (Miranda Heggie), 14 November 2016