Music review: Colin Currie & Huw Watkins, Perth Concert Hall

Percussionist Colin Currie and pianist Huw Watkins were on mesmerising form at Perth Concert Hall, writes Ken Walton

Colin Currie PIC: Linda Nylind

Colin Currie & Huw Watkins, Perth Concert Hall *****

At one point in Friday’s cracking duo programme before a live audience in Perth, Colin Currie was faced with every percussionist’s fear. Having forgotten to mute a snare drum, he was now at the other side of the stage concentrating on the marimba, while the distant snare buzzed impertinently in sympathy.

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What to do? Slick as ever, and live on BBC Radio 3, Currie whipped over between movements and, without interrupting the flow, silenced the offender. Problem solved.

What might seem hardly worth mentioning was, in fact, a fleeting reminder of what we’ve been missing in the absence of the live music experience: that unplanned moment where the audience senses and shares the performer’s predicament.

Also sharing things with Currie was pianist and composer Huw Watkins, in what was a mesmerising instrumental combo. They performed an invigorating all-contemporary programme marking the culmination of Perth Concert Hall’s daily classical music series last week.

Their slick hour-long set took in the bluesy dark-to-light Predicaments of Dave Maric, the colourful introspection of Helen Grimes’ Walter Scott-inspired Harp of the North for solo piano, Joe Duddell’s punchy Parallel Lines with its reverential nod to Blondie’s eponymous 1970s’ pop album, and Tansy Davies’ bullish Dark Ground for solo percussion which licensed Currie to unleash the full extent of his acrobatic musicianship.

But the highlight was by Watkins himself, Seven Inventions for marimba and piano. Scented with fresh and distinctive colours, spiced with disarmingly sweet dissonance, this performance embraced, either end of the dynamic spectrum, a beautifully disarming fragility.

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