Thursday 9 April 2020, 8.30pm
Xenia Pestova Bennett / piano
Karlheinz Essl / live electronics
Pioneering Austrian composer Karlheinz Essl offers a radical reinterpretation of Bach's Goldberg Variations. Time-stretched harmonies are manipulated in real time and played back through spatialised loudspeakers in between the variations played by virtuoso pianist Xenia Pestova Bennett, bringing together baroque and contemporary sound worlds. This new reimagining of Bach’s vision juxtaposes the variations in a new strictly symmetrical structure which reflects the binary form of the original aria (a microcosm within a macrocosm with binary divisions commonly found in digital systems). No two performances are the same due to the live algorithmic generation of the electronic interludes. Gold.Berg.Werk transcends itself and becomes a new piece in its own right, creating a sense of space and distance unimaginable in Bach's time.
“an uncompromising artist” – Textura
“one of the leading performers of contemporary, non-conformist music” – HisVoice
Described as “a powerhouse of contemporary keyboard repertoire” (Tempo), “stunning” (Wales Arts Review), “ravishing” (Pizzicato) and “remarkably sensuous” (New Zealand Herald), pianist Xenia Pestova’s performances and recordings have earned her a reputation as a leading interpreter of uncompromising repertoire of her generation. Pestova’s commitment and dedication to promoting music by living composers led her to commission dozens of new works and collaborate with major innovators in contemporary music. Her widely acclaimed recordings of core piano duo works of the Twentieth Century by John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen are available on four CDs for Naxos Records. Her evocative solo debut of premiere recordings for the Innova label titled “Shadow Piano” was described as a “terrific album of dark, probing music” by the Chicago Reader. She is the Director of Performance at the University of Nottingham, and continues to mentor emerging musicians in workshops at conservatories and universities around the UK, Europe, Canada, New Zealand, USA and Brazil.