Live review: Argo’s Infinity

New music live at the Watermall

BY CELINE CHONG, 2017 CUTCOMMON YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR

 

argo: Infinity
Watermall, Queensland Art Gallery, 10 September

What’d you miss?

  • A carpet of mirrored spheres floating on a lake
  • Plenty of music by up-and-coming composers
  • The ability to let go

 

“two pianos
on either side of a lake
sing to each other”

These were the first words I saw as I opened the program for argo: Infinity, and they captured the scene perfectly. Held in the Queensland Art Gallery’s spectacular Watermall, Infinity was an immersive event combining art, electronic visuals, and the beauty of sound. Set against the backdrop of Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden – a carpet of mirrored spheres floating on a lake – Infinity invited us to lose our bearings and escape into the present moment; one of lush resonance and vibrant sound.

Presented by argo, one of Brisbane’s contemporary classical music collectives, Infinity featured the Viney-Grinberg Piano Duo, comprised of doctors Liam Viney and Anna Grinberg. Works by up-and-coming composers Connor D’Netto, Benjamin Heim, and Alex Turley, as well as established favourites in minimalism John Adams and Erik Satie, were on show. The duo performed with an impressive energy: animated and lively but with a sense of calm and unity, even from opposite ends of the building.

Throughout the program, it was clear that the unique space was used to its full potential. The clean architecture of the Watermall could almost parallel the music, and the high ceiling allowed notes to ring out and fade naturally, with the fade itself becoming a part of the listener’s experience. Each piece flowed straight into the next, and communication between both players in the expansive space was another prominent feature – highlighted in Connor and Benjamin’s collaborative work Music for Large Spaces, and in Alex’s Kusama’s Garden.

Melodic fragments played in turns by Liam and Anna danced in the open space, interjecting yet complementing each other as the texture steadily became more and more intertwined. Both players were subtle and responsive, and the united quality of their performance was truly impressive; even more so when considering the physical space between them. As well as this, Satie’s Gnossiennes 2, 3, 4, and 5 were performed by Anna, and Liam played Phrygian Gates by John Adams to add variety to the program. Played with sensitivity and colour, there is no doubt both performers are equally impressive as individuals as they are a pair.

Powerfully contemplative, argo: Infinity was as expansive as it was serene – a juxtaposition of moving sound and stillness, where the silences became just as profound as the music. In today’s busy world, it’s easy to forget to take time out for yourself to forget the pressures of tomorrow. But at Infinity, it was easy to let go. The hour flew by, and a beautiful hour it was.


Image supplied. Credit: Keegan Nicholls Photography.

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