By its very nature, a piano concerto can invoke the sense of characters and narrative; the idea of a soloist cooperating or working against an orchestra. This nature is explored in Tansy Davies’ very own Nature, a new piano concerto premiered by Huw Watkins and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group on 25th May. What emerges is a dense, colourful, 18-minute work in which the piano takes on a Shamanic role. As Davies explains:
‘I asked myself - what is the true nature of the piano in this concerto, who / what is she / he / it? The ‘being’ that emerged had the energy of a kind of Maenad: a wild woman, driven by the desire to connect the earthly and spiritual realms, led purely by instinct.’

The premiere formed part of Oliver Knussen’s 60th birthday concert, with Knussen himself conducting the 10 players of the BCMG.

‘[a] piece that set heart and mind in motion’
‘the real sense of a journey completed’
‘…this was the piece that actually set the heart and mind in motion. It has its 'spinning’ moments too, but in this case one felt an uncanny emotional climate, as if spirits were being conjured. In her pre-concert talk Davies spoke of 'shamanistic rituals’ as an influence, and one could hear them loud and clear. ‘
The Telegraph (Ivan Hewett), 28 May 2012
‘…glistening, hyperactive solo writing and a confrontation between piano and harp, there was the real sense of a journey completed.’
The Guardian (Andrew Clements), 28 May 2012
Of all these three non-Knussen pieces, the most interesting by far was Nature, a completely new piano concerto from Tansy Davies. Reviewing her Falling Angel in a BCMG concert a year or two back, I remarked on her ability to take visual impressions and transmute them into purely musical ideas and structures. And the same is true here. She talks about “the edge of a wilderness where man meets Nature or the Supernatural… living alongside vampires, swimming with sharks,”…’
The Arts Desk (Stephen Walsh), 26 May 2012