Daniel Pioro & Valgeir Sigurosson – St George’s Hall, Bristol

Sunday 21st October, 2018

After 4 gigs in a row in 4 different cities, I very, very tired and slightly concerned I may fall asleep in the corner of St George’s. The programme notes for this had proved enough of a temptation to draw me into buying  a ticket, knowing it was likely to be the 5th concert I went to in as many days. Yes this was a random ticket purchase, but everything St George’s puts on is such high quality that the risk is a somewhat mitigated. Violins, I like those, contemporary electronic composers, I like those, combining them seemed an interesting choice and worth £15 of my money.

Daniel and Valgeir were more than ably joined by Jonathan Morton on violin, Charlotte Bonnerton on Viola and Clare O’Connell on cello. The opening pieces showcased the string quartet at their modern best, before we moved into the electronic sphere. Both were wonderful and all the pieces on tonight’s programme worked together. The final piece in the first half was my favourite, however. It was the only non contemporary piece, although if I’d not been told so I may not have known it was centuries older than all of the others. Janine and I turned to each other and simply mouthed “wow.”

The second half was more of the fabulous same, string quartets are so amazing to hear live, and make all sort of emotions leap about inside me. They did save the best for last though, that was Daniel on violin (semi improvised I think) with Valgeir’s electronic wizardry and it was very, very good indeed. The control, strength and dexterity Daniel displayed with his bow was extraordinary. He uses his whole body to play and is absolutely at one with his violin, as if they are incomplete without each other. This boy can play.

I couldn’t have predicted that this would be exactly the end my gig week needed, but it was. I was bewitched and becalmed. The combination of classical instruments with contemporary music making works in the hands of passionate and brilliant musicians like this.

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