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From Beginning to End

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As Kings Place’s Time Unwrapped season reaches its final phase, here are some of the highlights.

The fascinating exploration of time through the prism of music continues to unfurl in the last few months of 2018, with projects that play with time-bending and multiple dimensions, and, winding up the series, music that moves inexorably towards the end of life, temporal, physical and spiritual.

One artist who enjoys musical game-playing is pianist Alasdair Beatson, whose imaginative collage of composers including Ligeti, Kurtág and Nancarrow is spliced with Birtwistle’s homage to Harrison’s Clocks (14 Nov). Hugo Ticciati and O/Modernt deal with loops and phasing in John Adams’s Shaker Loops (21 Sep), and Explore Ensemble dive into Grisey’s Vortex Temporum, a work that explores three separate time dimensions: human time, insect time and whale time (30 Sep). CoMA’s 25th-anniversary day (23 Sep), open to all comers, includes performances of Ligeti’s Poème symphonique and Cashian’s The Forest of Clocks, while London Sinfonietta present a bold programme, On the Hour, that moves from the superhuman speeds of Nancarrow’s canons for player-piano to the sustained confrontation of Reich’s Four Organs (20 Oct).

Physical time, as measured in human hours, sees programmes merging from the twilight, with guitarist Christoph Denoth’s Nocturnal (10 Oct), into the night music of Bartók’s quartets from the Carducci Quartet, glinting with Kurtág’s jewel-like miniatures (19 Sep, 17 Oct, 7 Nov).

‘An exploration of Time through the prism of music’

Time Unwrapped opened on 1 Jan with Haydn’s Creation and, as autumn turns to winter, it finds a sense of an ending: Handel’s Triumph of Time and Truth celebrates immortal virtues (19 Oct); pianist Imogen Cooper offers Late Style in Beethoven, Haydn and Schubert (28 Oct) and Nico Muhly’s Old Bones meditates on a fallen king and his modern resurrection (23 Nov). There are Requiems of different kinds: Mozart’s famous work is prefaced by Schubert’s Death and the Maiden (1 Dec), and the Brodsky Quartet’s concert In Time of War features George Crumb’s Vietnam War protest, Black Angels, and Shostakovich’s Eighth Quartet, a response to the Allied bombing of Dresden (18 Nov).

From death into eternal life, Time Unwrapped winds down with Messiaen’s sublime Quartet for the End of Time (5 Dec). But Aurora’s New Year’s Eve Lock-In, Northern Lights with Lips Choir, Nico Muhly and Teitur – a joyous feast of food, music and dancing – looks forward to our next Unwrapped in 2019…

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