Annette Peacock’s recital at CdM yesterday was absolutely remarkable. Her spectral presence bathed in dark blue, just her and the piano and a few harmonic soundscapes. She revisited her legacy as if in a dream sequence, weaving bits and shards, patiently and wisely. Words and sentences and melody fragments came and went, harmonious at times, disjointed at others, as Annette navigated throughout the field of possibilities, at times gently, at times forcefully – but always uncompromising.
For those of us lucky to have followed her unique output throughout the decades, it was an opportunity to witness the opposite of self-karaoke: yes, artists can gain resonance, wisdom and poignancy as the years go by. In a field overtaken by the expectation of mind-blowing spectacle, Annette Peacock provided subtlety and reflection.
And then a magic trick at the very end, whereby she left her own voice singing while exiting the stage; what at first people may have thought was her singing turned out to be a recording at this last stretch. A provocation, a tease, a bit of humour? A philosophical metaphor whereby the person emancipates herself from her own legacy? Whatever the intent, it’s always good to leave the audience perplexed… and perplexed the audience was, unable to engage in applause or demand encores. Ladies and gents, the protocol is off.
In other words: Annette Peacock still rocks, and possibly more than ever.
(Image not from gig, I was too busy actually living it; it’s from AP @ LGW, 2016)