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Monthly Archive: June 2008


Two summer festivals, two new commissions

Posted on Monday, June 30, 2008




August brings two new premieres, both from Summer festivals in some of the most beautiful areas of the UK. August 25th is the premiere of my Gigue for flute and harp at the Presteigne Festival, and earlier on August 6th it's the turn of the Lake District Summer Music Festival and the Heath Quartet's performance of my string quartet Dances for Oskar.




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Beginners Lessons in Tabla playing

Posted on Sunday, June 29, 2008




How to play tabla [PDF - 17Mb]

Many years ago, I took a course in tabla playing. The tutor was of Caucasian origin, but had studied with some great tabla players and clearly knew his Tin Taal from his Keherva Taal. For years since I've had the often hand-written sheets he gave me to learn from and felt they were a fantastic resourse that anyone at my stage of interest in tabla playing (ie just starting out) would find invaluable.





After a question from someone on the Composition Today site, I finally got round to scanning the sheets in, and have uploaded them here in PDF format.

Unfortunately I no longer have the tutor's name, as it appears nowhere on the lessons, but if he happens to stumble across this, I hope he doesn't mind, and I'd love to hear from him!

How to play tabla [PDF - 17Mb]






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The implications of Antony Gormley

Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2008




Yesterday I attended a fascinating evening at Antony Gormley's London studio, where the kreutzer quartet played passionately some rich and evocative music by my old friend Jim Aitchison.

Looking around Gormley's studio was fascinating - there were plenty of his body casts lying around, and a number of his more recent works that build shapes (often body-related) out of thousands of repeated patterns, like this:



Birtwistle used to sometimes look at a work of art and ask 'What is the musical equivalent of that?' I think Jim went beyond that, using the ideas and structures of the works to inspire his music, and a fascinating response it was. But I couldn't help also returning to Birtwistle's question. What would a piece of music sound like that was so clear and simple in form, yet so new and original, and so thought-provoking. Perhaps Ligeti came somewhere close.

I browsed Gormley's website and came across an article mentioning Gormley's 1993 work Field:



What Gormley says about this work is fascinating, especially if you reflect it back on the music world:

"It came out of a personal crisis. I went back to first principals and started over. I felt the romantic view of the artist as someone standing apart from and remaking the world, was no longer tenable. It was a betrayal of what art could do. Art is nothing without being experienced and shared. And I wanted to start again on that basis".

"In the heroic story of Modernism, artists thought they were emancipating the tools of art from the strictures of representation, making something that could be everyone's. Instead, they ended up being implicated in the institutionalisation of modernity. I think the greatest thing we can try to do now is to take the freedom that art gained in the 20th century and offer it back to the viewer, to make work that really can be everyone's."




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Stephanie Berger Photographs

Posted on Friday, June 06, 2008


I got hold of these two wonderful pictures of the Bard College performances of A Bird in Your Ear from photographer Stephanie Berger - both will make lovely covers to my promotional CDs!


Chanel Wood as the Nightingale
STEPHANIE BERGER, 2008


Yulia van Doren as the Bird with Golden Plumage
STEPHANIE BERGER, 2008






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