On December 8th 2009, a.P.A.t.T. took over the Bluecoat, Liverpool, to stage a unique version of Terry Riley’s groundbreaking minimalist work, In C.
Known for their widely varied approach to live music events, a.P.A.t.T.’s take on the piece was a time and place-specific event, that saw a 31-strong ensemble spread throughout the Bluecoat’s new wing, with the audience invited to move around the building as the piece was played.
With players drawn from all walks of Liverpool’s music scenes, the ensemble featured a huge variety of instruments – clarinets, a harp, a bassoon, a toy piano, voices, guitars, synthesizers – that gave each locality of the performance its own feel and character. This unique staging – a first for the piece – gave a composition, which is different with every performance, a new dimension: as each audience member took their own path through the building, they were hearing their own unique mix of the music.
The main event was framed by some supporting material: the night was introduced by the University of Liverpool’s head of composition, James Wishart, who introduced some of the concepts of Minimalism and In C in particular to an audience featuring many to whom these ideas were unfamiliar. The ensemble then played two original a.P.A.t.T. compositions, written specifically for the ensemble and making specific use of the undetermined instrumental line-up. The whole evening, meanwhile, was framed by the Bluecoat’s Janek Schaeffer Sound Art exhibition, through which the ensemble was spread for In C.
As well as introducing many of the players (and part of the audience) to a style of music with which they were unfamiliar, the event also had some further reaching effects: musicians who met for the first time through playing in the concert have gone on to collaborate, while the ensemble as a whole is going to continue to work together, with future events already taking shape…
“I personally thought it amongst the best events we have staged since we reopened – both creatively and in terms of how it opened up, and in a sense celebrated, the new arts wing.”
Bryan Biggs, Artistic Director at the Bluecoat
Last night was amazing. I was in heaven.
“I went to the performance of “In C” last night at the Bluecoat, which was a fantastic experience – such a great use of the space, and linking very well with the current exhibition.”
Fanny Guillaut, Marketing Manager (Orchestra), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
“Excellent! Such performance events are among the highest of the highlights of a remarkable programme in a remarkable building – for them we all thank you.”
Roger Hill, radio presenter, live artist and commentator
Such a good night, so many great things have already stemmed from it.