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Oliver Coates

Oliver Coates at Norwich Playhouse

part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2013

Review published in Eastern Daily Press, 13 May 2013

Up and coming cellist Oliver Coates treated the audience in the acoustically apt Playhouse to a stunning masterclass.

His virtuosity and the variety of works complemented each other perfectly. The cello fairly sang in harmony and jangled in disharmony, in turn.

From Britten’s Ciaccona (Suite No.2 Op.80) to a pair of Bach Preludes (in D major, Cello Suite No.6 and in G major Cello Suite No.1), Coates was in flamboyant interpretative form.

He then moved to Block’s ‘Prayer’ from ‘Jewish Life’ and three fragments from Kurtag, including a fascinating two-bow ‘Hommage of John Cage’.

David Fennessy’s ‘The room is the resonator’ grew from one note to 12 to one, a dialogue of pitches in a cavernous Berlin tube station putting an electric cello to work with a recorded harmonium. The result was hypnotic.

‘Industry’ is Michael Gordon’s ‘free of interpretation’ piece exploring relationships between art decaying over time and pure sound, the material to be contemplated. It was about process and Coates delivered a breathtaking wall-of-sound finale to an evening emblematic of music to come in this Festival.

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