Second concert of the series Why Music? The Key to Memory at the Wellcome Collection.

I really admire when the programme for a concert, or a whole concerts season, is built around an idea that works as a nexus. But when this is pushed to the boundaries it can be ridiculous. And this is what happened to the idea of this concert. The idea was just a generic piezoelectric data storage technology. Having the BBC Radio 3 presenter Sarah Walker talking about this technology, without having any real clue about what it was sounded ridiculous. Even worse, presenting that as a disruptive game-changer for the human was absurd and dumb. Linking this with a new musical work (by Martin Suckling) and with new poetry (by Frances Leviston) was the worst. Every time art approaches technology as a magical miracle sounds very naive and like it is not getting the point.

Fortunately most of the event was dominated by a masterwork not linked with technology, memory or any presumptuous ideas: Schubert String Quintet in C major (D. 956) performed by members of the Aurora Orchestra. This was an interesting performance. Having it played by members of a chamber orchestra instead of by a regular quartet with the addition of a cello brought to it a more orchestral sense while keeping all the soloists properly differentiated.

It is a very difficult work that demands a lot of intensity from all the players. And the most tricky part is to dose this intensity across the whole work. The Auroras did it very well