Review: Goldfield Ensemble – Ritual in Transfigured Time @ Cardiff Uni Concert Hall

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Goldfield Ensemble – Ritual in Transfigured Time
Cardiff University Concert Hall
Tuesday 15th November 2016

After the great joy I found in playing with students and scholars of Erik Satie’s Vexations at Cardiff Uni, I ventured back once more.

Here, the Goldfield Ensemble has collected bric a brac of the past and fused it together into one concert. It’s results are mixed, but the effort is greatly appreciated. It began with Varèse’s Poème électronique, a masterpiece of electronic music and a sort of modernist pot purri. With La Corbusier’s imagery (sheer randomness with monkeys and ancient statues), the piece is alert with clear intention and true appreciation of sounds of all kinds. Jonathan Harvey’s Ricercare una melodia is a pleasing work for clarinet, played by Kate Romano and the addition of electronics adds to the melodious nature of the work in its many canons.

Some other pieces of music proved less investing. Muffled Cyphers by the Langham Research Centre is really just a rehash of John Cage’s work in electronics and their inspiration of J. G. Ballard is of interest but little else. Other film work by Solveig Settemsdal involving ink and genetic in water is a translucent half dream, along with a score by Kathy Hinde featuring anxious  part of toy pianos and a serene string quartet. Faraday Waves a real treat for the eyes along with the score by Rob Godman.

The Cloud Trio by Kaija Saariaho was a dull attempt to make more than the three instruments intentions. Their range and elements of themselves made this piece lack any real appeal. Arlene Sierra’s new score for Maya Deren’s short, experimental film Ritual in Transfigured Time fits perfectly. Deren’s piece is a dreamy of strange encounters, spinning wool, restricting parties and dancers keen to reach you. She films choreography exceedingly well, with close ups of the male dance’s torso and stop frames, bringing much admiration to the joy of moment, via the big screen. The passion seen in the players in Sierra’s score is evedent from the get go and also throughout. The score is vibrant, fresh and of worth.

Rating: 3 stars

An extended performance of Satie’s Vexations take place around Cardiff starting in October till new year, as a fundraiser for OCD UK, with such venues as the Wales Millennium Centre, St. Edward’s Church (of Cardiff), the Cardiff Masonic Lodge and the YMCA as locations. We also need more musicians, venues, rap artists and artists in all fields to help to complete the piece. Follow #CardiffVexations on social media to see more!


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