Wednesday 27 January 2016, 8pm
Xenia Pestova performs Hans Otte's monumental work for solo piano, ‘The Book of Sounds’.
Seductive, beguiling, scintillating and transformative: The ‘Book of Sounds’ by the neglected experimental German composer and pianist Hans Otte takes the listener on an immersive and meditative journey. Presented by the contemporary piano specialist Xenia Pestova and lasting over an hour, this major work is in twelve continuous movements, demanding unparalleled stamina and concentration from the performer. Ranging from sparse and abstract sections to virtuosic passagework and at times reminiscent of Satie, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, early John Cage, Keith Jarrett and even Scriabin, this unusual masterpiece defies classification and has to be experienced.
“This "Book of Sounds" rediscovers the listener as a partner of sound and silence, who in the best for his world, wishes for once to be totally at one with sound. The "Book of Sounds" rediscovers the piano as an instrument of timbre and tuneful sound with all its possibilities of dynamics, colour and resonance. This "Book of Sounds" rediscovers playing as the possibility of experiencing oneself in sound, of becoming at one in time and space with all the sounds around one. This "Book of Sounds" rediscovers a world of consonant experience which could only now be written because of a totally changed consciousness of sounds on earth.” – Hans Otte
Please note that the performance will start at 9pm sharp.
“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) in the international press, pianist Xenia Pestova Bennett's performances have earned her a reputation as a leading interpreter of uncompromising repertoire alongside masterpieces from the past. Xenia’s commitment to promoting music by living composers inspired 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 with Pascal Meyer 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. Xenia's own compositions are available on Diatribe Records and TakuRoku. Her full-length album "Atomic Legacies" features Ligeti Quartet and the Magnetic Resonator Piano. Highlighted in Bandcamp's "Best of Contemporary Classical" in 2020, the album was described as "boldly conceived and brilliantly realised... a foretaste of things to come" in The Wire (Julian Cowley), "intoxicating, extraordinarily eerie and evocative” (Bernard Clarke, RTE LyricFM), "melancholy... heart-swells and proper feelings” (Jennifer Lucy Allan, The Quietus) and "a nuclear musical reaction that produces that great, irradiated beauty" (Tom Service, BBC Radio 3). Xenia's subsequent digital EP "Atonal Electronic Chamber Music for Cats" takes an unexpected turn-around, using vintage synthesizers in an exploration of 1990's techno-art-pop nostalgia.