Classical review: Gabriel Prokofiev and Peter Gregson, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

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MULTI-tracking has opened up a whole new area of performance in that musicians like cellist Peter Gregson can create the aura of a large ensemble with just one instrument, a laptop and numerous speakers.

Gabriel Prokofiev and Peter Gregson

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

***

For the Scottish premiere of Cello Multitracks, Gregson collaborated with composer and producer Gabriel Prokofiev to record eight separate cello tracks which he then played along with live. In this four movement work Prokofiev explored the more percussive aspects of the cello in the aptly named Tuff Strum, complex electronic dance-based rhythms in Jerk Driver and in Float Dance the more fragile, ethereal qualities of the instrument.

But it was the funky riffs in Outta Pulser, that provided the bedrock for the remixed version of the tracks. Remixes are regarded as a response to the original piece, but what transpires is far more interesting. This is where the real magic happens with Gregson and Prokofiev bringing an edgy spontaneity to the material which they looped, improvised and elaborated on in this compelling musical dialogue.

Gregson is a sensitive and intelligent musician and these qualities help bring focus to the stylistically diverse and beautifully atmospheric Bow to String by Icelandic composer Daniel Bjarnason.

The evening began with a crisp version of Steve Reich’s New York Counterpoint by clarinettist Pete Furniss followed by a superb ‘reimagining’ of it together with creative programmer Alex Harker. They extracted the poetry from Reich’s original, softening the throbbing, cacophonous cityscape to give it more laid-back west coast feel.

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