As part of the Chester Music Festival last night I saw a performance of Lost an hour long musical piece by composer and multi instrumentalist Graham Fitkin accompanied by Harpist Ruth Wall.
This was far away from a lot of the other stuff the festival has to offer which typically celebrates traditional classics here we had something that definitely qualified as more avant garde, more progressive. The performance took place inside the town hall which provided as wonderfully intimate and atmospheric setting for the piece.
To begin the lights dimmed and the 2 performers took to the floor each taking a few minutes to introduce themselves, there instruments and also Fitkin took a moment to give some back story to the piece, the music originally came from music he had composed for a theatre performance and had been expanded around the theme indicated by the title. He did at one point mention automatically renewing insurance premiums and I do remember thinking how do you express the frustration of insurance renewals via the medium of harp and synthesizer? I supposed I was about to find out!
The music its-self was everything from sublime to confusing, discordant to dreamy. It was definitely challenging in parts and required the listener to commit, concentrate and roll with it. The melodies would meander between jarring clashing strings and electronic pops and fizzes and then out of the cacophony would emerge a beautiful melody which hung in the air for a few moments before sinking away. The theme of being lost was strongly communicated in the sound and as a whole the music had a strong sense of abstract storytelling and was strongly evocative because of this.
The musicianship was fantastic particularly that of Ruth Wall, if you’re interested in seeing more of her she is actually performing solo tonight at the town hall, see here for details. Overall a really interesting and enjoyable hour of music, really unusual and certainly a rare form of entertainment for Chester, I’d love to see more like it.