As promised, return to the usual subjects.
The Ensemble Modern is a well established institution by now. Since 2004, they have organized summer courses on the Greek Island of Paxos, as part of the annual Paxos Festival. Though foreign students arrived to the island for the course in the first two years, this course is mostly for young Greek musicians. Furthermore, its participants had the opportunity to perform at the Dimitri Mitropoulos hall of the Athens Megaron in 2007 and 2008.
In fact the 2008 concert, last Wednesday (Jan. 23rd), was part of the Athens-Berlin concert series that find place at the Megaron until next Monday. One of the many listeners -indeed many for a contemporary music concert- was myself. In the program, works by George Crumb, Witold Lutosławski, Charles Ives, Nicolaus A. Huber, Vassos Nicolaou (in German), and Régis Campo.
Younger and less younger Greek performers gave their best. Indeed some impressive performances on works that were not all equally impressive. I can mention the Eleven echoes of Autumn by Crumb -one of my favorite composers lately; the Trio (click on the left column C other works under III. works for chamber ensemble) by Ives -a hard to play and impressive work; last but not least Nicolaou's work Red Shift for bassoon, violin, cello, and piano which was performed by members of the Ensemble Modern. As hard and impressive as Ives' trio, this work shows how Nicolaou (in French) is well worthy of his -indeed large- CV.
Lutosławski's Grave for cello and piano, Campo's Anima for small ensemble, and Huber's dasselbe ist nicht dasselbe for snare drum did not appeal to me for different reasons. The last was in need of a larger hall -I was annoyed at moments from the loudness, the Anima was a bit predictable and more or less a bit boring, and finally about Grave, I felt it was a bit out of the whole program. Could it be that the performers did not get into the music enough? No answer there from me.
Anyway, in all a lovely concert with young Greek performers, which we'll all hopefully hear in the years to come. Just in order to get into the nose of those who do not believe in the younger musicians in this city of mine...