London Philharmonic Orchestra x Crisis UK: Crisis Creates at Southbank Centre
A new initiative for the LPO and charity Crisis UK, Crisis Creates brings together adults who have experienced homelessness to devise music and lyrics with LPO musicians and workshop leaders over five days. The concert, which is free, is followed by the night’s soloist, Gil Shahan, who performs Hindemith’s Violin Concerto – all members of Crisis Creates and their friends and family can attend the concert for free. The aim of the project is to offer an experience of self-expression that might help combat the isolation and fear that are so often present in today’s unfortunate precarious living conditions.
The performance tonight packs an emotional punch in its mere 45 minutes. The inspiration comes from one of the pieces to be played later by the LPO: Galina Ustvolskaya’s Symphonic Poem No 1, together with the creative impetus for that, the poetry of Gianni Rodari. Ustvolskaya learned composition from Shostakovich, and dedicated this piece to the workers who tilled the land of Kazakhstan. The central movement uses the eight poems by Rodari, which, with subtitles like “the insufficient wages of the father”, “unemployment”, and “the children living in a cave in close vicinity to a dumping ground” can only be redolent of our times, and even more so when adapted by these few people affected by homelessness.
There is a spark between artists and audience here that is rarely experienced in live performance. This feels like pure and unencumbered expression; it feels, actually, like we have been invited to the streets to listen to eight people tell a story through music – and that is probably the point. None of the performers are bored; all had a stake in the creation of this music, which is at times heartbreaking, at times very funny. There is an earnestness and humility. The textures are sparse and clear: glockenspiels, guitars, hand drums and tambourines. The sentiment is just as clear.
For further information and future events visit Crisis Creates’s website here.