MATTHEW BOURNE - THIS IS NOT FOR YOU
MATTHEW BOURNE - THIS IS NOT FOR YOU
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MATTHEW BOURNE - THIS IS NOT FOR YOU

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Released: 12/07/2024

Matthew Bourne is difficult to pin down. You may have preconceptions of an artist who first came to prominence as a virtuosic pianist and winner of the Perrier Jazz Award in 2001. Witnessing Bourne at the piano is a visceral thrill with the instrument becoming an extension of his body. It’s unclear where one ends and the other begins as he climbs inside a grand to pluck, strum and bend the notes to his will. There’s a rare physicality in his performances that sets him apart – unexpected in the world of
concert halls and Steinways. And yet, that’s not Bourne. He balances those moments of tension and drama with space and an innate sense of melody, as adept at using silence as he is with the notes he plays. But that’s not Bourne either.

Over the last twenty or so years, you’re as likely to find Bourne piloting Moogs, bothering cellos and harmoniums, covering Kraftwerk, Charlie Chaplin and Phil Collins, collaborating with the weather or unearthing rare Victorian keyboard instruments as you are “playing” the piano. His fingerprints are all over a huge number of diverse projects. And then there’s the infamous performance piece in which he demolished an old upright with a sledgehammer. A form of self-flagellation or two fingers up to the “establishment”? Matthew Bourne is difficult to pin down.

For such a restless and forward-thinking artist, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that Bourne can be a little reluctant to return to the instrument on which he made his name. At least in public. That would be too easy. When he does, it’s certainly cause for celebration. But that’s not Bourne. If you happen to spend time in his company, either in concert or in person, you’ll find an endearing and somewhat acerbic wit never far from the surface. There’s an unwillingness to accept popular convention and obey the rules unless they can be bent or played with. But that’s not the whole story either, because he’s also unfailingly generous with his time and with his music. It’s evident in the fact almost all of his recorded output has been in dedication to friends, family, lovers and peers. The titles tell their own story.

And yet… This Is Not For You.