The world seems to be changing at an ever-increasing pace. Each fraction of a step it takes around its axis brings something new; whether these things will endure, or slip unnoticed into history is impossible to know. Yet, although it may feel like the pace of the world has sped up, time itself rarely changes its tempo, and what remains when we are gone can only be known by our successors.
While pondering the passage of time, it may be worthwhile enjoying something equally indomitable: the music that has acted as a soundtrack to our world’s voyage through the universe so far. Most of the works that you will encounter in this year’s Musicon concert season are already fixtures in the slipstream of our planet; broadcasted recordings projected into the universe - trailing in our wake as a testament to some of the greatest things that our kind have achieved along the way. However, some of them are completely new - works that may or may not enter into the musical memory of future generations.
Our programme this season can in many ways be seen as a journey through our musical history. However, it is a fragmented journey - it starts near the present, before reaching the beginning and traveling back into the future. Our first concert, a vocal recital from Lucy Goddard and Siwan Rhys, offers an engaging collection of US experimental music from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. This will be followed by a concert of classical Hindustani ragas with Josh Feinberg, one of the most forward-thinking musicians in this venerable discipline, the roots of which date back further than anything else you will hear this season. The autumn programme will end with one of the real musical highlights in the North-East this year: Mahan Esfahani, who has gained a reputation as one of the most innovative superstars of Baroque music, will treat us to an unforgettable performance of Bach’s timeless masterpiece, the Goldberg Variations.
In the first concert of 2018, the Clerks will present us with another starting point for this season’s musical journey; a history of The Missa Caput, one of the most fascinating foundation stones of polyphonic composition. At the other end of the scale, this year’s Musicon Focus event, 20th Century Music, will present a diverse and captivating selection of works from our more recent past, some of which have already become an essential part of our musical history.
To complete the season we will be treated to two separate concerts from the core of the classical canon. Boxwood & Brass will give us the rare pleasure of hearing Mozart, Triebensee, and Beethoven performed on period instruments; giving us the opportunity to step back into the past and experience what it might have been like to hear this music the way the composers themselves would have heard it. Finally, in April, the Brodsky Quartet will present a programme centered on Beethoven’s monumental String Quartet Op. 127. What better way to end this roundabout musical journey than with a piece that was so far ahead of its time that it took the world more than half a century to catch up with it.
Dr Eric Egan
Chair of Musicon