The Minimalism Unwrapped series at Kings Place has been questioning the concept of minimalism as much as affirming a body of works embodying the genre and its ideals. The Duke Quartet’s concert was no exception, juxtaposing Kevin Volans’ episodic Hunting:Gathering with the narrative sweep of John Tavener’s The Hidden Treasure. While the programme effectively juxtaposed the individual voices of each of the composers, the Tavener received the most striking performance by far.
It seems odd that a concert based around Mozart should leave one cold. The pivotal figure of the Britten Sinfonia’s “Kaleidoscopes” concert is known for the humanity, warmth and charm of his music. In tribute, the ensemble presented a programme of Kurtág, Adams and Tavener, three composers for whom Mozart has been an important influence. With exception of the Kurtág though, the Britten Sinfonia’s performances seemed oddly passionless, leaving me frustrated.