Jazz trio Breve, featuring John Taylor

The Merel Quartet perform Janáček

Leoš Janáček’s ‘Kreutzer Sonata’ for string quartet, inspired by Tolstoy’s novella of that name. The piece was finished in fifteen days, and has a fittingly intense hue — Janáček wrote that he imagined ‘a poor woman, tormented and run down, just like…Tolstoy describes’. The music is a psychological drama with great conflict at heart, almost abandoning the fields of traditional harmony.

The Merel Quartet performed this to a sold out crowd on a warm summer evening at Plush Festival.

Aleksandar Madzar performs Ravel

Aleksandar Madzar plays games with Maurice Ravel, a composer who thrived on challenges and limitations.

Ravel Menuet sur le nom de Haydn
Ravel Valses nobles et sentimentales

György Ligeti – Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes

This is an unusual work by Ligeti, simply featuring 100 metronomes ticking until they wind down. It was performed at the Music at Plush festival with the metronomes in the place they appear in this film, but with audience members starting them off, and then watching, bewildered, as they wound down.

We then ran the performance twice more the next day, once for filming wides and once for close-ups. The two runs were then edited together (differences in the light between the two were a pain). The footage from the concert was nice to have but not really usable for making a film like this.

The score calls for a long silence and then up to an hour of ticking. We decided to shorten this considerably. The metronomes are supposed to be fully wound but we had to limit that to 13 turns on average (more for faster tempos and fewer for slower tempos). A team of festival volunteers, cooks, and musicians then set them off, on cue, as quickly as possible for escaping.