Posts Tagged ‘CD review’

h1

Ouija, Celadon, Messiaen, Magnificat, Slow Tide II

April 8, 2012

This is a quick news post with dates of some upcoming performances:

First up, Celadon will be played in two concerts given by the distinguished Korean musicians Kyung Sung Cho, Hyo Young Kim and Seungmi Suh during their visit to Cambridge this month – at 5.30pm on Wednesday 25 April in the Recital Room, University Faculty of Music (West Rd), and on Saturday April 28 at 5.00pm in Robinson College Chapel.

Next, I’m writing and presenting a programme in BBC Radio 3’s long-running Saturday morning series Building a Library on Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie; it’ll be broadcast on Saturday May 26th at about 9.30am.

Ouija will receive its first performance at 8pm on May 23 in Sidney Sussex Chapel, in a recital by Peter Sheppard Skaerved which also includes the premiere of Sonata Sospesa by Poul Ruders, and Bach’s G minor sonata and D minor Partita.  Full details and tickets available from Cambridge Summer Music Festival.  This is the piece conceived as a kind of séance, in which the violinist seeks to communicate with unseen spirits (see two earlier posts here and here).  Sidney Sussex Chapel will be a wonderfully atmospheric setting.

There will be further performances of Ouija at the Holywell Music Room in Oxford on November 2nd, and in London (details still tbc).

Later that week Gonville & Caius Choir, with senior organ scholar Annie Lydford and their director Geoffrey Webber, will give the second performance of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis I wrote for them (the Caius Service) – this is on Sunday 27 May at 6pm in Gonville and Caius Chapel.

And in June I will be giving a concert in Bonn, which includes performances of a newly revised version of A Sense of Touch (originally for four pianos: here in its alternative version for two pianos and tape) and the first performance of Slow Tide II.  This is a rethinking of the music of Slow Tide, a piece for two pianos and two percussionists, keeping most of the harmonic and melodic material, but radically rethinking the sonority and texture, and recasting the piece for piano, MIDI keyboard and tape.  The sounds of the MIDI keyboard and the tape are being realised by Jo Snape in The Hague.  The programme will also include more of my piano music.   This is on Tuesday June 12th in the Schumannhaus, Bonn, with the support of the Institut Français.

[Image: Celadon ceramic art, Korea]

Advertisements
h1

Fauré’s final visions

March 6, 2009

I’ve been asked to research and present another programme for Radio 3’s CD Review – the part called Building a Library, where the reviewer considers all the available recordings of a piece, guides you through them and makes a recommendation. Last year I looked at Messiaen’s La Nativité, and this time it’s a truly extraordinary work by Gabriel Fauré, written in his 80th year, his (only) String Quartet.

Fauré’s music takes us on a long and fascinating journey from the delicious and apparently effortless poise of his earlier music to something almost completely opposite – dark, tortuous and beset equally by doubts and by the determination to go on which sometimes seems to me to foreshadow Samuel Beckett. These qualities emerge in Fauré’s music before and during the First World War, and then in his very last works (including the String Quartet, the last of all, from 1923-4) this sense of striving acquires a kind of luminosity which is absolutely unforgettable.

Like other late Fauré, it works its magic slowly, and doesn’t give everything away at once. Preparing this programme, and listening to the piece repeatedly in various different performances was an ideal way to get this music under my skin. It says a lot for the piece that having now heard it umpteen times I’ve not become in the least tired of it, and in fact it’s now one of my Desert Island discs!

The programme goes out on Saturday 28 March at 9.30am on Radio 3. It can be heard for one week following on Listen Again on the Radio 3 website, and can also be downloaded as a podcast – for further information see  CD Review/Building a Library.