Although I love the other pieces in the programme, particularly Finlandia and Marche Slave, I was mostly drawn to tonight’s concert to hear a new work by Sheffield-based composer, Jenny Jackson.
Jackson is a member of Platform 4, a composer collective whose other members (Tom James, Tom Owen and Chris Noble) performed the gargantuan piano part central to Moot: for Orchestra and Piano, six hands. The work opened atmospherically, with sliding timpani rolls and low, moaning brass, followed by a marvellous bell-like texture replete with bright piano chords. At times, the orchestration was chaotic, brutal, and uncompromising, interrupted by moments of sparse beauty.
Although not a concerto in a conventional sense, Moot did contain a cadenza: a brilliantly clunky piano chorale that was somehow both bizarre and moving. Martin Lightowler did a fine job in conducting a very challenging work; it was the finest performance of the evening, proving that new music can be embraced by amateur ensembles and orchestras.