The closing chorale of Bach’s Cantata O Ewigkeit Du Donnerwort BWV60 , Es ist genug leads an unbelievably active social life for a 289-year old. It’s been non-stop hectic ever since the Berg Violin concerto. He or she (take your pick, chorales are masculine in German, but feminine in French – just like the moon) was out last night at the Royal Academy of Music being put through his or her paces by a group of Royal Academy students under the direction of International Artist in Residence Dave Douglas. Bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado and drummer Scott Chapman had been given 20 and 40 minutes respectively to come up with a re-working which were played and played over by the group. No pressure, then …. the results from both were stunning. The students talked through the methods used to produce their compositions, and players from the group were thoughtful and interesting on the subject of finding a language to improvise over these sequences. It’s not nearly as dry as it sounds, there were moments of real pathos. The concert – with lots of other material too – is tonight in the Dukes Hall.
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