On 26 September, Athelas Sinfonietta presented the Danish premieres of two chamber ensemble works; Francisco Coll’s agile Liquid Symmetries and Jonathan Harvey’s deeply spiritual Sringara Chaconne. Robert Houssart conducted the sinfonietta at the Koncert Kirken in Copenhagen.
The 14-minute Sringara Chaconne is full of ravishing, glittering textures conjured from four gentle chords which rise slowly through many transmutations – a typical example of the composer’s fusion of Western culture and Eastern philosophy. There are a number of more objective events which repeat – like the chaconne of the title – whilst Sringāra is an Indian rasa (‘flavour/mood’) signifying a love-essence which, according to Hindu belief, is at the beginning of all art.
In contrast, the soundworld conjured in the 13-minute Liquid Symmetries is agitated and sharp. Several virtuoso solo lines wind their way through the musical fabric – notably a jittery and gyrating muted trumpet solo and recurring, murmured viola statements. Surrealistic juxtapositions abound, no more so than in the work’s final movement, with its strange, cavernously empty near-unison passages and the lone, slightly droll, cowbell – hitherto unheard – that sets up a typically enigmatic conclusion.