A very nervous Arthur Jeffes took to the stage of the Purcell Room in the Queen Elizabeth Hall last week to perform as part of his latest offshoot project – Sundog.
Pianist and composer Jeffes – who is the son of the the late Simon Jeffes, founder of Penguin Café Orchestra – played the London-based venue, alongside violinist Oli Langford, to an audience packed with friends and family-members, hence the nerves I imagine. Together they played original pieces as well as those made famous by the PCO and Arthur’s ‘reboot’, Penguin Café.
As usual, Jeffes took the time to explain to the audience the often mathematically intricate and precise rhythms behind his pieces – an aside that I have enjoyed every time I have seen him play. In front of him, his grand piano was literally covered in post-it notes serving as reminders of versions of these stripped-down tunes.
It was back in 2010 that Jeffes began working on solo projects as a way of exploring his sometimes more post-minimalist ideas outside the framework of the Penguin Cafe’s older and more established sound without endangering the balance of the it’s delicate and unique history.
Taking Philip Glass, Wim Mertens and Simon Jeffes’ work into account, Jeffes’ aim is to create music that can be both intellectually satisfying and quietly touching. This is music which, because of its origin, can work happily under any number of names; classical, minimalist, chamber, or electronica.
Nerves aside, Jeffes was, as ever, a delight to watch and listen to and watch. I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for this duo.
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