Concert Review: Bach’s solo suites at Manchester Art Gallery

Posted on: July 14, 2009

In Tuesday’s (7/14) New York Times , Anthony Tommasini writes from Manchester, England. “A rewarding experiment in creating an ideal space to hear some of Bach’s most intimate music—the solo suites for piano, for cello and for violin—is taking place here at the Manchester International Festival. Zaha Hadid Architects was commissioned by the festival to take a top-floor exhibition room at the Manchester Art Gallery and turn what is basically a big black box into an acoustically and visually perfect place for performances of the Bach works. … On Saturday night, for the second installment in this series, I heard the elegant French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras play four of Bach’s six solo cello suites in this specially conceived environment.  Working with Sandy Brown Associates, an acoustical company, the team from Zaha Hadid has temporarily created a space within a space. Like an enormous, puffy ribbon, a long span of translucent off-white fabric with an inner metal skeleton twirls down from the ceiling in expanding circles, until it nearly surrounds the low platform stage and the seating area for some 200 listeners. … Sitting in the enclosure was like hearing music from inside a supersize conical seashell.”

Posted July 14, 2009