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Thomas Simaku ‘con-ri-sonanza’ UK Premiere

Posted on 17 August 2021

Thomas Simaku’s work con-ri-sonanza for piano & strings received its UK premiere at the 2021 North York Moors Festival of Chamber Music to a rapturous reception of a full house on 14 August.

The piece was performed by internationally renowned artists Daniel Lebhardt (piano), Benjamin Baker and Sasha Raikhlina (violins), Bryony Gibson-Cornish (viola), and Claude Frochaux (cello) in the Welburn Manor in North Yorkshire.

The world premiere took place at the 2019 Moderne Muziek Nijmegen Festival performed by pianist Joseph Houston and Quatuor Diotima who recorded it as part of Simaku’s eponymous album of chamber music released by the Swedish label BIS Records in November 2020 – the album has since received much international acclaim.

Described by the German magazine Das Klassik & Jazz as “a piece to through yourself into wholeheartedly”, con-ri-sonanza explores a network of relationships embedded in its title: consonanza, risonanza, con risonanza; as the French magazine Diapason put it,  “piano and strings seem to stare each other down, alternating, and mutually accompanying each other. At the moment of fusion, a spectral chord is once more indexed on the lowest string of the cello, bringing with it a much-awaited resolution."

Martin Dyer reviewed the event, saying: "The piano’s interruptions gradually subside, until the cello rises up the harmonic series from its C string. Mere description does not do justice to a piece that constantly intrigues – and delighted the house."

The artistic director JamieWalton also wrote on the festival facebook page: "Schumann and Dvorak piano quintets interspersed with the UK premiere of Thomas Simaku’s ‘con-ri-sonanza’ which was just spellbinding."

The recording with the score can be heard here: