The Kronos Quartet: Hamilton Mausoleum.

A few days ago I had the pleasure of working at The Kronos Quartet Concert in Hamilton Mausoleum.
As you may know, I’m not very good when it comes to writing reviews.
That said, I got asked to write a short review for our staff newsletter.
Here’s what I managed to string together:

The Kronos Quartet.
Hamilton Mausoleum.
13/05/2011.

Well, I was pretty excited about working at The Kronos Quartet gig at Hamilton Mausoleum.
I used to play on the Mausoleum steps when I was a wee boy and the place was always closed.
I never got the chance to see inside but Hamilton Mausoleum is the ideal setting if you like to pretend you’re Indiana Jones.

Anyways,
Tickets for The Kronos Concert were allocated via a lottery system because of the limited amount of space inside the building.
The lucky golden ticket winners and ourselves arrived at the masoleum (which was lucky because I had to direct the bus driver and I don’t drive) and it’s even more impressive on the inside!

It was actually really misty and cold inside which only added to the eerie atmosphere and Kronos played in the centre of a candlelit circle in the middle of the mosiac floor making great use of the masoleum’s 15 second echo.
– Apparently the longest lasting echo of any man-made structure in the World…World…World…World…
Add to that the dome some 100 feet above us and instantly you got the feeling that something special was about to go down.

I’ll have to hold my hands up here and admit that I’d never even heard of The Kronos Quartet before this concert but already, I’m a big fan.

Additional sets were performed by:
The Alim Qasimov Ensemble,
Ritva Koistinen,
Chris Stout & Catriona Mckay,
Tanya Tagaq,
Donald Shaw & Karen Matheson.

Again, it’s hands in the air time as I’d never heard of an instrument called a Kantele before but Ritva Koistinen played it beautifully and I may just save all my wages up and buy myself one of those.

As great as all of the artists were I have to say that throat singer Tanya Tagaq stole the entire performance for me.
I don’t even know where to begin.

The lights were dimmed real low and Tanya performed barefoot surrounded by candles.
All of the artists really made great use of Hamilton’s Mausoleum’s echo but none so great as Tanya Tagaq.
She ran around in circles growling like a caged animal and AT THE SAME TIME sang above her own growls with the voice of an angel.
How can that be possible?
She built and built on top of her own voice and with the aid of the echo, you could close your eyes and be convinced that you were listening to 5 seperate people.

Halfway through her performance, and with the masoleum almost in complete darkness she….HOWLED LIKE A WOLF!
It was REALLY LOUD! (And unexpected!)
Actually, I don’t think an actual wolf could howl better.
When that happened, I looked at the stunned faces of the patrons, the circle of candles and the mist above me.

For a minute, I was convinced that the patrons were worshipers!
For a minute, I was convinced that I was gonna turn around to find my colleagues with fangs and capes!
For a minute, I thought that The Concert Hall I work for had decided to offer up some of its staff as some sort of sacrifice to the Hamilton Mausoleum Gods!

It’s easy to get carried away inside that Mausoleum.

What actually happened was:
Tanya became human again and after some stunned silence, there was thunderous echo drenched applause.
At the end of this great concert a patron beside me leaned across and said:
“What a great job you have! Can you get me one?”
He obviously didn’t realise that Daniel O’Donnell is scheduled to ‘perform’ later in the year.

The Kronos Quartet in Hamilton Mausoleum goes right into my Top 10 of amazing concerts.

Note:
All through the concert I was watching the TV Camera guy operate a Steadyicam.
Those things are very cool!

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