This August, Momentum Ensemble took on a new and exciting project under the directorship of Classical accordion virtuoso, James Crabb. Together they explored a diverse selection of music that showcased the versatility of the accordion, and its effectiveness as part of a chamber ensemble.
The Seven Last Words program acquired its name from a piece by the Russian-Tatar composer Sofia Gubaidulina, whose harrowing Seven Words was written to represent the seven final words of Jesus on the crucifix. In a piece packed with metaphors, the string players of Momentum Ensemble symbolized angels, whilst soloists James Crabb and Julian Smiles personified the body and soul of Christ. The bellows of the accordion signified breathing, whilst the unique cello part crossed between both sides of the instrument’s bridge, representing the soul’s entry to another world.
This abstract work was sandwiched between two vastly juxtaposing pieces of music. The concert leaped into action with an uplifting Vivaldi concerto and closed with a selection of four tango pieces by the master tango composers of Argentina and Finland, all arranged by James Crabb.
After an intensive week of rehearsal and study the young musicians of Momentum Ensemble made their way to Brisbane to perform at The Edge, an intimate performance space at the State Library of Queensland. The following evening, they performed to a full-house audience in the charming surrounds of the Utzon Room at Sydney Opera House.
Momentum Ensemble aims to help musicians develop a multi-faceted professional career, and Seven Last Words delivered a unique experience: providing musicians with a well-rounded understanding of the capabilities of the accordion, and the versatility of its use within chamber music.