REAPPROACHING BACH at the DELFT CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL at The Cigar Factory

As was demonstrated in Friday’s Young Talent Trail, the Festival organisers have a knack of finding wonderful hidden locations for concerts. The one chosen for morning’s performance was more hidden than most, concealed behind a door that looked like the entrance to some upstairs apartments at number 75a Brabantse Turfmarkt. The only clue to the venue was an almost obscured ancient sign above the entrance indicating that this was indeed our destination, De Sigarenfabriek – The Cigar Factory.

The Netherlands is, beyond contradiction, one of the world’s leading exponents of contemporary dance so it is entirely fitting that this should be reflected in the Festival.

We entered the performance space to discover Heather Ware and Jakob Koranyi set in a silent pose like a Rodin sculpture, her hand poised above his bowing hand, ready to play. It started in slow motion, the cello played almost inaudibly. Finally she broke free and addressed the audience – there was quite a lot of spoken word – before developing her dance, much of it again in silence.

It was the enigmatic, ambiguous relationship between the two that was the essence of this performance. Koranyi’s Bach cello pieces were not just an accompaniment, they were integral to the bond between them. One sometimes had the impression that the dancer was trying distance herself from both the musician and the music – she wants to dance, he wants to play. He says to her one point, “What are you doing? Do you even like Bach?”

Towards the end of the performance she stands motionless, virtually on one foot, with arms outstretched as he plays quietly to himself, eyes closed, unaware of her torment, her almost sublime agony. After a good five minutes her arm is trembling and she collapses onto the floor. Soon she crawls towards him on all fours, almost in an act of submission, with the drops of sweat falling like diamonds from her face before resuming the initial tableau vivant.

Powerful and original stuff and just what you need on a quiet summer’s Sunday morning. Excellent.   Michael Hasted   5th August 2018

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