Following on from recent performances by the London Sinfonietta and Aspen Festival Contemporary Ensemble, Coll’s Liquid Symmetries for 15 players (2013) received its German premiere on 26 September at Frankfurt’s Alte Oper. Pablo Rus conducted Ensemble Modern.
Whilst the instrumental line up of this 13-minute work is modelled after the Chamber Symphony of Coll’s close mentor Thomas Adès, the soundworld created is far spikier and more astringent. 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.
Looking ahead, Patricia Kopatchinskaja will premiere Coll’s new Violin Concerto in February with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg under Gustavo Gimeno. Other forthcoming projects include a piano trio, and Lilith – a 12-minute work for the Orquesta de Valencia, with whom Coll is Composer in Residence.