This Friday, the Albert Hall in Manchester will be the setting for an extra special one-off show courtesy of Jonny Greenwood and the London Contemporary Orchestra.

Not for the first time, the Radiohead guitarist will join forces with the classically-trained masters to entertain a 2,500 crowd – a number that might well appear relatively intimate compared to the enormodome shows he’s used to with his usual outfit.

The performance will see Greenwood and the LCO play a number of pieces that the Oxford musician has composed himself, as well as arrangements of music by the likes of Xenakis, Purcell, Messiaen.

In addition to being guitarist in one of the most important bands of the last two decades, Greenwood has also built up a reputation as an esteemed composer of film soundtracks, having given his talents to pictures including There Will Be Blood (Daniel Day-Lewis) and The Master (Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman).

Expect to hear excerpts from these performed on the live stage for the very first time alongside a host of other as yet unheard material.

As if all that wasn’t enough, the collaboration will also treat the audience to a rendition of Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint, which has been described as ‘the centrepiece’ of the set.

Greenwood and the London Sinfonietta kicked off Far Out’s Glastonbury in June with mesmerising performances of two Steve Reich pieces – including ‘Music for 18 Musicians’. On a drizzly Friday morning at the West Holts Stage, it was the perfect antidote to the challenging elements and more than enough evidence that the show at the Albert Hall on Friday will be nothing short of spellbinding.

Expect to see Greenwood impress on electric guitar, tanpura and ondes Martenot – the latter being particularly intriguing given that only a tiny proportion of musicians can play it to performance standard. In fact, the instrument has not been in production since 1988, making Friday’s gig a unique opportunity to see it in action.

To get hold of tickets head to the Albert Hall’s website. Standard tickets are priced at £25 or just £15 for students with a valid NUS card.

Patrick Davies

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