Review: Evelyn Glennie, Bury St Edmunds Festival, The Apex, Sunday May 29

Evelyn Glennie, Bury St Edmunds Festival, The Apex, Sunday May 29

That Evelyn Glennie can hold a capacity audience spellbound as she plays percussion pieces using flower pots, or just a snare drum, or simply a pair of maracas, tells you what you need to know about this phenomenal and charismatic performer.

A unique and world-leading percussionist she displays extraordinary technique, flair and imagination as she takes the audience into a very different and unusual world of sound, introducing the sometimes esoteric works in a way which captivates and convinces, drawing you in to her personal musical universe which she communicates with such infectious enthusiasm and individuality.

On Sunday night, in the final concert of what has been an eclectic and brilliant ten-day festival, she moved between a wide variety of instruments on the smoke-filled stage, three times featuring the gorgeous sound of the marimba, in Llijas, a piece by the prolific Serbian percussion composer Zivkovic a , a very effective arrangement of Libertango by Piazzolla, the best known Argentinian tango composer, and the technically novel Rhythmic Caprice by Leigh Howard Stevens.

Prim, for solo snare drum , was a miracle of technical virtuosity, greatly appreciated by this somewhat lasped amateur percussionist – as was Temazcal which featured the maracas, playing complex polyrhythms against a taped background. A solo performance of Steve Reich’s well known Clapping Music (written for two performers) was one of several items described, with genuine, if misguided, modesty, as something which any one of us could perform.


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I sat open-mouthed during most of this concert as Evelyn Glennie once again displayed her sheer genius, and brought the 2011 Bury St Edmunds Festival to a fitting world-class conclusion.

Wynn Rees

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