Pictures Reframed: Leif Ove Andsnes and Robin Rhode

4 December 2009, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

I love how there’s an increasing trend in producing cross-artform performances. I love it when different worlds come together. It’s a great ways-in for new audiences, getting us to engage in artforms we might not usually engage in and also stretching our imaginations, asking us to use and connect with our different senses. I’m always excited to see what the outcome is. Leif Ove Andsnes performed Mussorgsky’s epic piano cycle Pictures at an Exhibition live on stage, surrounded by Robin Rhode’s still art, plus a video screen showing his video works purposely created for the project.

I like Robin Rhode’s work. He tends to piece together still images to make video sequences. Tends to animate inanimate objects or draw objects and then animate them (for example, blowing out a drawn candle). Works that are accessible and fun to watch. Norwegian Leif Ove Andsnes is great too – expressive, but not overly. Can’t believe he played non-stop for over an hour!

I’m glad I got to see the show. Some of it really was fantastic. Particularly memorable was when chalk pieces were animated across a piano theme. Also when Leif played the ‘The Great Gate of Kieythe’ movement, the accompanying video was that of the drowning of a grand piano. It really matched the grandness of the music. Read about the making of it (image on the right). How incredible is that – the amount of work that goes into producing art at times amazes me.

I thought the evening could’ve been enhanced if more ties were made between the video and the music. Some of the videography was quite random – a room of strings, random doodlings… at times, it detracted from the music, became a distraction to the music. But all in all, a really enjoyable evening.

Writing this makes me want to listen to the piano cycle live again!

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