Manchester Collective will take audiences on a captivating journey through the darkness with “Black Angels” – an innovative performance combining string quartet and live electronics, touring across the UK from 16 – 24 March 2023.
Avant-garde masterpieces lie at the centre of the programme with George Crumb’s cult 1970 work Black Angels sitting alongside a new commission by Los Angeles-based hip-hop artist, activist, poet and composer Moor Mother (Camae Ayewa).
The show sees the world premiere of Moor Mother’s DREAM CULTURE, the artist’s first chamber commission. A self-taught musician with a drive to dig up the untold, Moor Mother is one half of the art collective Black Quantum Futurism (along with Rasheedah Phillips) and is known for her experimental music work, mixing in influences from jazz, blues, hip-hop and other Black classical traditions.
The second half of the performance sees a dramatic fusion of Crumb’s ground-breaking Black Angels and the slow movement of Schubert’s Death and the Maiden that inspired it, one of the pillars of the chamber music repertoire.
Tense, immersive, edge-of-your-seat listening, George Crumb’s work for electric string quartet is not for the faint of heart, with themes of death, destiny and obsessive spirituality.
Notoriously demanding, musicians are instructed to chant in foreign languages, play instruments upside down, incessantly tap strings with thimbles and glass rods, scream, shout, beat, count, and pray.
Edmund Finnis’ transcendent String Quartet No. 2 and Gabriella Smith’s fast and furious ‘Carrot Revolution’ complete the programme.
Moor Mother said, “DREAM CULTURE speaks to my desire to explore and examine ambient sound works. But it also speaks to the everyday aspects of human life that I believe we sleepwalk through.
“It is a piece about a dream state that continues even after we leave our places of rest – a reflection on how little awareness we really have of the world around us, and of our desire to escape the uncomfortable.
“This dream culture feeds our algorithms of anxiety and acts as a coping mechanism, responding to and blocking out reality.”
Hailed by The Guardian as “an ensemble with the vision and skill to truly see into the future”, Manchester Collective is renowned for taking classical and contemporary music into unexpected new directions and spaces – from underground music venues to warehouses and concert halls across the UK.
Black Angels Tour: Friday 17 March – Future Yard, Argyle Street, Birkenhead manchestercollective.co.uk/angels
Image: Manchester Collective – Voice of the Whale at Future Yard, Birkenhead. Credit: Lucy McLachlan