Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Indian Queen

The Indian Queen - The Sixteen
Henry Purcell The Indian Queen, Daniel Purcell Masque of Hymen; The Sixteen; Coro
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Mar 20 2015
Star rating: 5.0

A stylish and complete account of Henry and Daniel Purcell's music for Henry's last major stage work

Henry Purcell's The Indian Queen seems to have been somewhat in the news recently, his music having been part of Peter Sellars' extravaganza staged by ENO (see my review). Last year, to launch the Wigmore Hall's Henry Purcell: A Retrospective, Harry Christophers and the Sixteen performed Henry and Daniel Purcell's music for The Indian Queen allowing us to hear it theatrically unadorned (see my review) and now their disc, recorded shortly after the concert, has been issued on the Coro label. The disc includes all of Henry Purcell's music for The Indian Queen plus Daniel Purcell's The Masque of Hymen which was written for the piece's first revival. And the disc opens with one of Henry Purcell's catches.

One of the things that it is important to understand about The Indian Queen the theatrical work was that it was not intended to be on the grand scale of the semi-operas like The Fairy Queen and King Arthur. For one thing the company did not have the money, the production in 1695 came after yet more turmoil in the acting companies and The Indian Queen was based on a 30 year old play by Robert Howard (whose fourth wife Arabella was Henry Purcell's pupil) and John Dryden. In fact the original producers probably regarded it as a play with music (albeit, a lot of music) rather than a dramatick opera (their name for what we call semi-opera). Certainly with basic scenery and inexperienced actors (the good ones had all just left), Purcell's music was being called in to fill a lack. And this gave rise to one of the piece's distinctive quirks. The opening prologue, normally spoken, was sung to music by Purcell mainly because the singers would remedy the lack of experience of the actors.

The play concerns the fighting between Peru and Mexico (the Indian of the title in fact refers to the inhabitants of Peru!). The finale of the original semi-opera, produced in 1695 was rather downbeat, so at the 1696 revival a masque was added, written after the composer's death by Henry Purcell's brother/cousin Daniel Purcell. A rather Henry Purcell-ian (albeit without his imaginative quirk) sequence of choruses and solos.

Tippett's Ice Break

I first heard Tippett's opera The Ice Break when it was performed in concert at the Proms in 1990 woth Heather Harper coming out of retirement to sing the role of Nadia (a role she had created) and David Wilson-Johnson demonstrating his versatility by singing both in the Tippett and in Handel's Belshazzar during the same week. The opera really has not been seen much of since, and Tippett's own libretto is very much to blame and it is felt by some to be curious and dated. The setting is very 'contemporary' and nothing has dated so much as Tippett's literary attempts to be contemporary. But I remember being extremely impressed by the power of the music.

Now, Graham Vick and his enterprising Birmingham Opera Company are reviving the piece for a run of performances 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 April 2015 in an inner city warehouse in Birmingham. Graham Vick directs and the conductor is Andrew Gourlay, with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and a chorus of 150 singing and acting volunteers drawn from communities across the city. The performance is a promenade style one, taking place in the B12 Warehouse (ticket holders are advised of the exact location on booking). As should be expected from this group, this will be no ordinary performance; the audience is advised that they should be prepared with warm clothes, as it may be cold, and wear suitable footwear. The cast includes Nadine Benjamin in the role of Nadia.

Tenebrae at St John's

The service of Tenebrae during Holy Week, inspired many composers to produce music. There are settings both of the Lamentations of Jeremiah which form the readings during the service, and of the individual Responds sung before and after the readings. 

The service had its drama heightened by the candles in the church being extinguished one by one, until only one was left. Whilst not going quite this far, Alistair Dixon and Chapelle du Roi will be evoking this in their Tenebrae concert at St John's Smith Square on 1 April 2015, when the group will be performing Thomas Tallis's Lamentations of Jeremiah, Gesualdo's Tenebrae Responds, plus music by Guerrero and Byrd, along with a set of motets by Bernardino de Ribera which were only recently discovered.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Stravinsky double bill

A Soldiers Tale / Renard
Two enterprising young companies, Constella Ballet and Orchestra and Helios Collective, are collaborating to present an all-Stravinsky programme at the Bloomsbury Theatre on 31 March and 1 April 2015. The programme is a double bill of Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale choregraphed by Jaerad Glavin (first presented in 2013, see my review) and a new production of the opera-ballet Renard with choreography by Erico Montes of the Royal Ballet. Far less well-known that Soldier's Tale, Renard is a work based on Russian folk-tales.

The works, which involve six dancers, two actors, four singers, and an orchestra, are directed by Helios Collective’s Artistic Director Ella Marchment and conducted by Leo Geyer. The cast includes tenors Leonel Pinheiro and Daniel Joy, and the dancers Matt Petty and Michael Walters. The instrumental ensemble will be on-stage for the performances, making them very much part of the action and for Renard this is a great advantage for audience members as Stravinsky used a cimbalom as the continuo instrument in the work. This is a large hammered dulcimer, a Hungarian folk-instrument, best known for its use in Kodaly's Hary Janos and for its occasional inclusion in Rosalinde's act two aria (when she is a 'Hungarian' countess) in Strauss's Die Fledermaus.

See the Bloomsbury Theatre website for further details.

I musicisti dell'imperatore - Music from the reign of Charles VI of Austria

Music from the reign of Charles VI of Austria
Piani, Caldara, Scarlatti, Vivaldi; Raffaella Milanesi, G.A.P. Ensemble; Pan Classics
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Mar 17 2015
Star rating: 4.0

Viennese Imperial court style in 18th century music written for Emperor Charles

In the 18th century the Hapsburg Emperors in Vienna ruled a huge empire, which stretched as far south as Italy. From the 17th century the Vienna Court Orchestra was predominantly Italian, and in the early 18th century a sequence of Emperors were notably music loving. So that under these, particularly the last of the sequence Charles VI (reigned 1711 to 1740) music at the Viennese court reached its heydey. But 1736 saw the death of Antonio Caldara (Charles' favourite composer), in 1741 the death of Johann Joseph Fux (the Imperial Kapellmeister) and in 1740 the death of Charles himself, to be replaced by his daughter Maria Theresa (reigned 1740 to 1780) who considered the political benefits of the court orchestra to be slight, and vastly limited the amount of music at court.

This disc, on Pan Classics, from soprano Raffaella Milanesi and G.A.P. Ensemble (Emilio Percan, violin, Oriol Aymat Fuste, violoncello, and Luca Quintavalle, harpsichord) presents a selection of music which written for Charles, though so much was written they could probably have assembled dozens of discs without much overlap. There are three cantatas for soprano, each with an obbligato violin part. Risoluto on gia tiranno amore by Antonio Caldara, who worked for Charles, and two cantatas by composers who worked for his viceroys but tried to get his attention. Alessandro Scarlatti's Appena chiudo gli occhi and Antonio Vivaldi's Lungi dal vago volto, RV 680.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

It’s All About Piano

The Institut français is running its celebration of all things piano again this weekend. Their It's All About Piano festival runs from 27-29 March 2015 with a whole plethora of exciting events throughout the weekend. Concerts run throughout the day and include late evening recitals, so you can spend the day there (and the food in their bistro is great and it becomes a piano bar during the festival) or just drop in. Besides recitals there are a series of workshops Build your own piano with piano tuner and technician Alain Chauvel, and free beginners workshops with Music'all

Events which caught my eye included Mikhail Rudy’s multimedia recital which combines his programmes Métamorphose (based on Kafka) and Pictures at an Exhibition, linking animated images by the Brothers Quay and Kandinsky with music by Janáček and Mussorgsky (Friday 27); a concert from Julien Gonzales, 8-time winner of the Accordion World Championship (Saturday 28); the London première of Messiaen’s La Fauvette Passerinette, presented and performed by Peter Hill (Saturday 28); and recitals from François-Frédéric Guy (Beethoven, Schubert and Mozart on Saturday 28) and Peter Donohoe (Messiaen, Debussy and Beethoven on Sunday 29).

You can see all the events at a glance on the festival's website.

Jonathan Biss re-starts his Beethoven piano sonata survey.

Jonathan Biss - Beethoven piano sonatas Vol 4
Beethoven piano sonatas nos. 6, 10, 19 and 23 (Appassionata); Jonathan Biss
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Mar 17 2015
Young American pianist has re-started his survey of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas

The young American pianist Jonathan Biss is currently working his way through the complete Beethoven piano sonatas with the latest CD on his own label (produced in collaboration with Meyer Media), the earlier volumes having been issued on Onyx Classics. With this volume Biss starts at the beginning with  Beethoven's first piano sonata, Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2 No. 1, Sonata No. 6 in F major, Op. 10 No. 2, Sonata No. 19 in G minor, Op. 49 No. 1, finishing with Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata".

Born into a family of musicians, Biss's parents are violinists and his maternal grandmother is the player for whom Samuel Barber wrote his Cello Concerto. Biss studied at the Curtis Institute from the age of 17 with Leon Fleischer. Biss himself now teaches at the Curtis where, last Autumn he offered an on-line course in Beethoven's piano sonatas, which is promised to re-start this year.

Now, I have to start this review with an admission. I don't normally listen to Beethoven piano sonatas, and they are something of a world away from the music that interests me most. My own pianism did not get much beyond playing Mozart's piano sonatas, so that much of this music is embarrassingly unfamiliar. So what follows is something of an exploration with an innocent ear and I have refrained from giving the disc a star rating.

Beethoven's first piano sonata, written 1795, was dedicated to Haydn and starts with that most common of gestures, the Mannheim Rocket. But once beyond this, it is clear that Beethoven's talent was not one for being confined. Throughout the disc, I was repeatedly struck by how, even in the most conventional of sonatas, Beethoven refuses to be constrained and of course in the Appassionata he goes completely wild and seems to delight in wrong footing the listener.

Noriko Ogawa and Jamie's Concerts

Jamie's Concerts
Pianist Noriko Ogawa's series Jamie's Concerts seem to be rather unique. They are aimed specifically at parents and carers of children with autism, though they are open also to people interested in autism. The concerts are designed to give the carers a chance to relax and listen in supportive environment, with the concerts designed to fit their busy and demanding lives. Generally free of charge, the concerts start at 11am and end well before the school day is over. Refreshments are served and the audience has chance to relax and chat.

One of Jamie's Concerts held by Noriko Ogawa in Japan
One of Jamie's Concerts held by Noriko Ogawa in Japan
The next Jamie's Concerts are in Manchester and London. On 22 April 2015 at the Barbirolli Room at the Bridgewater Hall (as part of the hall's Ravel and Rachmaninov Festival) and on 5 May 2015 at Milton Court Concert Hall, Guildhall School of Music in Drama. On 9 April 2015, Noriko Ogawa will also be giving an evening concert at St Peter's Eaton Square, London, as part of their 2015 Spring Series, and the concert will also be the official launch of Noriko Ogawa as an official Ambassador for the National Autistic Society. You can hear Norkio Ogawa talking about her charity work to Melanie Spanswick on a YouTube video.

When Noriko Ogawa first came to the UK, she lodged with a family with a child, Jamie, who had severe autism. Noriko Ogawa wanted to do something to help, and she found that when the child's carer was calm Jamie was calmer too, so the idea of helping 'behind the scenes' with Jamie's Concerts was born. You can learn more from Jamie's mother's blog, and there is a JustGiving page if you would like to contribute.

It has recently also been announced that the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where Noriko Ogawa teaches, is to fund a research project looking at how attending concerts can help the parents and carers of children with autism, further information from the Guildhall School's website.

Monday, 23 March 2015

BBC Symphony Orchestra in Monte-Carlo

BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo
If you fancy a quick jaunt to Monte-Carlo in Monaco, then the BBC Symphony Orchestra is making its debut at the Festival Printemps des Arts there on Saturday 28 March 2015. Led by the chief conductor, Sakari Oramo, the orchestra will be playing and all Sibelius programme including Pojhola's Daughter, songs with Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski and Symphony No. 5, which celebrates not only the 150th anniversary of Sibelius's birth but the fact that Sibelius conducted the symphony's premiere 100 years ago in 1915.

The festival runs from 20 March to 12 April 2015 and presents a diverse line-up of artists (some 400  in all) at a variety of different venues in Monte-Carlo including the Musee Oceanographique, Opera Granier, The Grimaldi Forum, and the Yacht Club de Monaco. This year the focus of the festival is particularly on the music of Sibelius, Bach and the Italian composer Franco Donatoni (1927-2000), whose work included Arte della Fuga based on that of Bach.

Flow my tears - Iestyn Davies

Flow my tears - Iestyn Davies
Johnson, Dowland, Danyel, Campion, Muhly, Hume; Iestyn Davies, Thomas Dunford, Jonathan Manson; Wigmore Hall Live
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Mar 10 2015
Star rating: 5.0

New light on an old form - lute songs ancient and modern

This new disc from counter-tenor Iestyn Davies is on the Wigmore Hall Live label. A live recording of a Wigmore Hall concert from 5 July 2013, Davies is joined by lutenist Thomas Dunford and viol player Jonathan Manson for a programme of music for lute, viol and voice. There are a couple of interesting aspects to the programme, first the participation of viol player Jonathan Manson adds an interesting extra depth to some of the lute songs, and secondly the 16th and 17th century music by Robert Johnson, John Dowland, John Danyel, Thomas Campion and Tobias Hume, is joined by the world premiere of Nico Muhly's Old Bones.

Our knowledge of Elizabethan lute-songs is very much defined by the music of John Dowland (1563-1626), with his sophisticated talent, professional melancholy and constant frustration at never achieving a position at Queen Elizabeth's court. In fact his music was popular and he was professionally successful in monetary terms, and did achieve a court position late in life under King James. Dowland was of course simply part of a lute culture, in which songs and lute music were written, performed, published and circulated in manuscript collections.

Robert Johnson (c1583-1633) was appointed Queen Elizabeth's court lutenist in 1597 when he was only a teenager (which must, presumably, have annoyed Dowland greatly). Johnson also wrote music for the theatre and here Davies sings Have you seen the bright lily grow from Ben Jonson's comedy The Devil is an Ass (1616) and Care-charming sleep from John Fletcher's Valentinian (1610), plus a charming little song From the famous peak of Derby (also by Ben Jonson) which idealises life away from court.

Music circulated in manuscript as much as printed copies, and the collection copied by Margaret Board, one of Dowland's pupils, is an important source for his music. Praeludium only occurs here, it is a solo lute piece which demonstrates the player's virtuoso skill, a brilliant take on an academic exercise. Thomas Dunford follows it with the lovely little A Fancy.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

A Knight's Progress - Music from the Temple Church Choir

A Knights Progress
Parry, Walton, Muhly, RVW, Tavener, Bairstow, Haydn; Choir of the Temple Church, Greg Morris, Roger Sayer; Signum Recordds
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Feb 9 2015
Star rating: 4.0

New work by Nico Muly is the centrepiece of this attractive mixed programme

The centre-piece of this new disc on Signum Records from the Temple Church Choir and its director Roger Sayer, with organist Greg Morris, is a new commission from Nico Muhly, Our present charter. This is performed with a mixed programme of mainly 20th century music with Hubert Parry's I was glad, William Walton's The Twelve, John Tavener's Mother of God, here I stand, RVW's Valiant for Truth, Edward Bairstow's Blessed City, heavenly Salem and Franz Josef Haydn's Te Deum in C major.

For some reason the disc is entitled, A Knight's Progress. The article in the CD booklet does not quite illuminate the reasons for this but I presume it is linked to the fact that the Muhly piece was written to celebrate the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 and three of the witnesses to the sealing of the charter are buried in the church.

Sayer, Morris and the choir open with a strong performance of Parry's I was glad, the choir well supported by the recently restored organ. The choir makes a good, firm rich sound with an admirable clarity in the resonant acoustic. There is a hint that the performance loses focus a little in the quieter section but this is a finely confident opening to the recital.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

La Nuova Musica, Lucy Crowe and Tim Mead

La Nuova Musica - photo B. Ealovega
La Nuova Musica
photo B. Ealovega
Bach, Locatelli, Vivaldi, Pergolesi; Lucy Crowe, Tim Mead, La Nuova Musica, David Bates; St Johns Smith Square
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Mar 20 2015
Star rating: 5.0

A lenten programme which did not preclude bravura brilliance and expressive singing

David Bates and his group, La Nuova Musica brought a rather Lenten themed programme of baroque vocal music to St John's Smith Square on Friday 20 March 2015, the first half devoted to struggling with sin and God's wrath, the second half contemplating the sufferings of Mary at the foot of the Cross. Joined by counter-tenor Tim Mead and soprano Lucy Crowe, they performed Bach's cantata Widerstehe doch der Sunde, BWV 54 (Just resist sin), Vivaldi's motet In furore Iustissimae irae, RV 626 (In wrath  and most just anger), and Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, along with Locatelli's Concerto Grosso in C minor, Op.1, No.1.

Lucy Crowe - photo Marco Borggreve
Lucy Crowe
photo Marco Borggreve
Bach's cantata  Widerstehe doch der Sunde, BWV 54 was written for alto soloist, here sung by Tim Mead, whilst Bach was in Weimar in 1714, and is his first surviving church cantata for solo voice. The opening aria starts with an amazing orchestral gesture which Bates and his group made into something profoundly modern (for a second you thought, hang on a second!). Mead's performance was wonderfully straight, direct and up-front but with a lovely sense of line and here he was matched by the ensemble. The players really dug into the chords in the lower strings. After a short but expressive recitative, the final aria was distinctly fugal, with a rich lower string texture complementing Mead's strong account of the rather chromatic vocal line.

Tim Mead - photo B. Ealovega
Tim Mead
photo B. Ealovega
Bates used a combination of organ and harpsichord continuo, but his own harpsichord contributions were patchy as he spent a lot of time conducting. Here, I have to admit that I could not watch. Whilst I love the group's sound, I cannot watch Bates' gyrations as he achieves the sound he wants. The orchestra's basic sound world is very rich, and Bates seems to like a strong viola and bass lines which I rather like and which certainly adds to the richness of the mix.

Next the orchestra played Locatelli's Concerto grosso in C minor, Opus 1, no.1 which was written in Rome in 1721. A four movement work, generally slow, fast, slow, fast, it used a solo quartet of two violins, viola and cello (Bojan Cicic, Kinga Ujsaaszi, Jane Rogers, Joseph Crouch). The opening Largo was slow and grand and very striking, with the expressive yet chromatic solo from Bojan Cicic's first violin predominating, and the ensemble bringing a lot of rich colour to the harmony. The Allemanda was a perky movement, very much a quick fire call and response between soli and ensemble. The Sarabanda was stately with lovely sonorous harmonies, echoing the expressive solo passages. Finally a perky Giga Allegro, with busy solo parts giving us cascades of notes over a strongly rhythmic bass.

An encounter with John Savournin of Charles Court Opera - a passion for Gilbert and Sullivan

Ruddigore - Charles Court Opera - Sir Despard (John Savournin) and Dick Dauntless (Philip Lee) Photo Bill Knight
Ruddigore - Charles Court Opera
Sir Despard (John Savournin) and Dick Dauntless (Philip Lee)
Photo Bill Knight
Charles Court Opera has just come to the end of a run of Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore, a Hammer Horror style production at the King's Head Theatre in Islington (see Hilary's review on this blog). The group is also celebrating its 10th anniversary, no bad innings for a fringe opera group. So I met up with founder, baritone John Savournin (who played Sir Despard in Ruddigore and directed the show) to chat about the company and its first ten years.

John comments that the idea of 10 years rather catches up on him unawares, and whilst so much has happened he can still imagine what they were 10 years ago. The group was founded very much as a platform for young singers to have an outlet in London and has just developed. John ruefully admits that they are now not all so young but the group is there to do good work for which they all share a passion, and whilst they are noted for Gilbert and Sullivan the repertoire is in fact broader.

John had an itch for directing as a teenager, but though he experimented with it, it was a singer that he studied at Trinity College in London. Describing his family as 'entrenched in G&S culture', when John met David Eaton (who remains the group's musical director) at Trinity, putting on a Gilbert and Sullivan concert there was a way of preserving his Gilbert and Sullivan links. They tried a Gilbert and Sullivan show at the Rosemary Branch Theatre in Islington and it was very well received. The resulting progress has been organic, but John says that it was not all planned carefully. They now have their boutique pantomime at the Rosemary Branch Theatre, seasons at the King's Head Theatre as well as elsewhere. There have been tours too, to Lanzarote and the new concert hall in Dublin.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Nos autem gloriari premiere

Vaulted ceiling at All Saints' Church, Margaret Street
This Sunday, 22 March 2015, 6pm Evensong at All Saints Church, Margaret Street, London W1W 8JG, is replaced by a Passiontide Sequence of Music and Readings. During the service, my motet Nos autem gloriari will be premiered by the choir of All Saints Church, conducted by their music director Timothy Byram-Wigfield.
Nos autem gloriari comes from my collection Tempus per Annum, which contains motets for the church's year setting the Latin introits - one for each Sunday and major feasts. Though in fact Nos autem gloriari sets not an introit, but an antiphon for Maundy Thursday.
The collection is nearing completion, finally, and I am only three motets off the final one (number 73!); I am currently working on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, and only have All Saints and the Feast of Christ the King to do. All the finished motets, some sixty or so, are available for free download from the CPDL website.

Mass and Motets for an Easter Vigil - Stephen Layton and the Holst Singers

Allegri, Sanders, Martin, Messiaen; The Holst Singers, Layton; Temple Music at Temple Church
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Mar 19 2015
Star rating: 4.0

Sheer beauty of sound in a choral programme for Easter

Conducted by Stephen Layton, the Holst Singers performed their programme Mass and Motets for an Easter Vigil at the Temple Church on Thursday 19 March 2015, as part of the Temple Music Foundation's 2015 season. The concert opened with Allegri's Miserere, followed by John Sanders The Reproaches, and Frank Martin's Mass for Double Choir, concluding with Olivier Messiaen's only sacred choral work, the early motet O Sacrum Convivium.

The choir is quite a large group, some 45 singers, and they stood in the entrance to the Round Church with the audience in the stalls in the nave, an arrangement which worked well and gave the choir the benefit of the support of the Round Church's acoustic. Conductor Stephen Layton is a former director of music at the Temple Church, so can be assumed to know how best to deal with its fine, but quirky acoustic.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

BBC Young Musician winner Laura Van Der Heijden set to tour Wales with Sinfonia Cymru

Laura Van Der Heijden - Photo credit Sam Trench
Laura Van Der Heijden
Photo credit Sam Trench
Cellist Laura Van Der Heijden won the BBC Young Musician competition in 2012 when she was 14. Conductor Gareth Jones heard her during the competition, when he was adjudicating the string final. Now three years later, aged 17, Laura is joining Gareth Jones and Sinfonia Cymru for a Welsh tour performing Shostakovich's First Cello in a programme with Beethoven's Symphony No. 8, Sibelius's Pelleas and Melisande and Copland's A Quiet City. The tour starts at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (Thursday 26 March), with performances at Pontyberem Memorial Hall (Friday 27 March), The Riverfront, Newport (Saturday 28 March) and Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold (Sunday 29 March).

Laura is having a busy year, she is currently studying for her A levels as well as preparing for performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra, and she has recently formed a piano trio with composer/pianist Huw Watkins and violinist Tobias Feldman. Sinfonia Cymru will be following this tour with its first all-baroque concert in May, working with Brecon-based period violinist Rachel Podger.

 

More than just an orchestra - An encounter with Sascha Goetzel

Sascha Goetzel conducting the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra in Haydn's The Seasons photo credit Ozge Balkan
Sascha Goetzel conducting the Borusan Istanbul
Philharmonic Orchestra in Haydn's The Seasonsphoto credit Ozge Balkan
The Austrian conductor Sascha Goetzel has been the chief conductor of the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra (BIPO) since 2009 and during this time he has transformed what was a talented provincial orchestra into one which, with appearances at the Salzburg Festival and at the BBC Proms, is developing a real international profile. As part of my trip to Istanbul to hear the orchestra performing Haydn's The Seasons, I was able to talk to Sascha about his work with the orchestra and their future plans.

BIPO is a private orchestra, created by the family which owns Borusan Holdings, Turkey's largest steel conglomerate, and funded through their Borusan Foundation. Sascha Goeztel was appointed chief conductor after an international search to replace the Turkish conductor Gürer Aykal who had directed the orchestra since its founding in 1999 (based on the Borusan Istanbul Chamber Orchestre itself founded in 1993).

When Sascha took over the orchestra he found a group of immensely talented young players (the orchestra's average age is around 30), but they had all been trained in different places and so played in differing styles. As he put it, they all spoke different dialects of music. His first task was to create a unified ensemble, by working with the orchestra having a lot of sectional rehearsals. Sascha also learned about Turkish culture, where classical music has only played a part since the 19th century, and Turkish folk music. In this latter, the dances are often in uneven rhythms and the players had a different way of instinctively dividing rhythms across the bar. Turkish music also has a huge amount of melisma in it. So Sascha worked with the players in these areas, playing music such as dance based pieces which built on their traditional styles.

The rhythmic and melismatic elements of Turkish music still imbue the orchestra's sound, and Sascha feels that the players understand the need for colouring, painting in sound in an extremely vivid way. A test of his early work with the orchestra was when he took them to the Salzburg Festival in 2010. He felt the orchestra played well, and the audience was stunned both by the sound and by the unexpected nature of a classical orchestra of such quality coming from Istanbul.

Coronation Music for Charles II

Coronation of Charles II
Music for the Coronation of Charles II; Oltremontano, Psallentes, Wim Becu; Accent
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Feb 6 2015
Star rating: 4.0

Imaginative reconstruction of music for the whole of the Coronation of Charles II from processions, to service and banquet.

This latest disc (on the Accent label) from the Belgian cornett and sackbut ensemble Oltremontano, directed by Wim Becu, explores the music written for the coronation of Charles II. Though the group is joined by the choir Psallentes for three items, the disc is very much wind ensemble based and encompasses the music written for Charles's ceremonial entry to London, procession, coronation ceremony and the coronation banquet with music by Robert Parsons, Marin Mersenne, Matthew Locke, Girolamo Fantini, William Child, William Byrd, Pelham Humfrey, Augustine Bassano, William Lawes, John Adson.

Charles' coronation took place a year after his Restoration in 1660. It probably took the intervening year to organise the grand spectacle (very much based on earlier models), as most things including the Royal Household had to be assembled from scratch including creating new coronation regalia and the training of choirboys. The disc comes with an excellent article by Prof. Dr. Grete Haenen which explains just what we are listening to. Not all the music survives and we do not have record of some, so some of the pieces are putative.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Orpheus Sinfonia gets Beneath the Score

Thomas Carroll and the Orpheus Sinfonia at Cadogan Hall
Thomas Carroll
and the Orpheus Sinfonia
at Cadogan Hall
Orpheus Sinfonia and conductor Thomas Carroll continue their Beneath the Score events, with an exploration of the intertwining lives of Robert and Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms. 

At St George's Church, Hanover Square on 23 March 2015, they present Love Triangle. During the first half of the concert excerpts from symphonies by Schumann and Brahms and Schumann's Cello Concerto (whose slow movement includes a motif depicting Clara's name), are interleaved with readings of the letters between them, forming a picture of their very different personalities. The second half consists of a complete performance of Brahms's first symphony. Clara and Robert Schumann greatly supported Brahms and encouraged him to write a symphony.

Come all ye songsters - Carolyn Sampson in Purcell at the Wigmore Hall

Carolyn Sampson
Carolyn Sampson
Purcell, Draghi, Corbetta, Simpson; Carloyn Sampson, Elizabeth Kenny, Jonathan Manson, Laurence Cummings; the Wigmore Hall
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Mar 17 2015
Star rating: 5.0

Bewitching evening of Purcell exploring his music for aristocratic patrons

The Wigmore Hall's Henry Purcell: A Retrospective continues exploring the full range of the composer's work. On Tuesday 17 March 2015 soprano Carolyn Sampson joined Elizabeth Kenny on lute, Jonathan Manson bass viol and Laurence Cummings on harpsichord for a programme of Purcell's songs. But this was no random selection of choice gems from Purcell's repertoire (though there are indeed many gems), instead the musicians explored two very particular manuscripts, the Gresham Manuscript and 'Princess Ans Lutebook'. Both of these are ultimately associated with Princess Anne, younger sister of Queen Mary (of William and Mary) who maintained her own establishment and seems to have been highly musical. Thus the concert, which included a mixture of Purcell's theatre songs as well as music from the odes and other pieces, gave us a taste of the sort of music making that might have gone on in Princess Anne's chambers.

The Gresham Manuscript (so called because it was acquired by Gresham College in the 19th century), is in Purcell's own hand and seems to have been assembled for Purcell's pupil Lady Arabella Howard. Before her marriage she was a lady in waiting to Princess Anne and both women were musical. Anne played the harpsichord and guitar (her teachers included Francisco Corbetta and Giovanni Battista Draghi), and Arabella sang and played the harpsichord. And the manuscript seems to have been compiled by Purcell for their use, with the songs being copied in shortly after being composed. 'Princess Ans Lutebook' is in fact a book of guitar tablatures and is similar in nature, in that it is a compilation (of Purcell and others) of music to be played on guitar. Also included in the concert was Purcell's C major harpsichord suite which was originally written as part of his teaching material for aristocratic patrons.

Not all the songs were from the Gresham Manuscript, but there were enough to give us a lovely taste, a real sense of domestic music making. A number of the songs existing in versions in the manuscript which occur nowhere else, and sometimes transposed from other voices to be suitable for soprano. Arranged into themed groups, divided by instrumental solos, the programme provided a lovely selection of Purcell's works but also had the sense of illuminating a corner of aristocratic patronage from the 1690's.

Julian Lloyd Webber to be principal of the Birmingham Conservatoire

Julian Lloyd Webber photo credit Simon Fowler
Julian Lloyd Webber
photo credit Simon Fowler
It was announced today (18 March 2015) that the cellist Julian Lloyd Webber is to be the next principal of Birmingham Conservatoire. The cellist retired from playing last year, and will be taking up his position in July this year. The appointment comes at an exciting time for the conservatoire as it has a new home being built on Birmingham City University's city centre campus, with a concert hall and new practice facilities. The present principal of the conservatoire, David Saint retires in June and Lloyd Webber will replace him.

This is is something of a new departure for the distinguished cellist, who was forced by injury to stop playing. I was lucky enough to catch on of his last recitals (given with his wife Jiaxin) in April last year. But he has been involved in education for quite some time, and was co-founder of In Harmony Sistema England the music social education programme based on the Venezuelan El Sistema.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

JC Bach's Amadis de Gaule

Amadis de Gaulle - UC Opera
JC Bach (the London Bach) seems to be having something of a moment. The first of a pair of his operas to be performed in London comes up next week as the wonderfully enterprising University College Opera perform JC Bach's Amadis de Gaule at the Bloomsbury Theatre starting on 23 March 2015. The opera is being performed in English, though it was written in French and first performed in Paris in 1779. The piece used libretto which had originally been set by Lully (and was later the basis for Handel's Amadigi di Gaula). JC Bach had the misfortune to premiere the work in the middle of the Parisian battle between supporters of Gluck and the serious French tragedie lyrique and supporters of Piccinni and Italian opera buffa. As JC Bach's opera was like the work of neither, it pleased no-one.

JC Bach was an important influence on the young Mozart (the two met when Mozart was in London where JC Bach was based for many years). And one of JC Bach's earlier operas, Adriano in Siria crops up at the Britten Theatre next month as part of Classical Opera's celebrations of Mozart's visit to London, 250 years ago.

University College Opera's performances of Amadis de Gaule run from 23 to 28 March 2015, and are directed by Jack Furness (from Shadwell Opera) and conducted by Charles Peebles. Tickets available from the Bloomsbury Theatre website.

This Other Eden - Kitty Whately's debut CD

This Other Eden - Ktty Whately
Ireland, Warlock, Quilter, Gurney, RVW, Howells, Stanford, Head, Horovitz, McMillan, Britten, Barber; Kitty Whately, Joseph Middleton, Navarra Quartet, Kevin Whately, Madelaine Newton; Champs Hill Records
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Feb 22 2015
Star rating: 4.5

English song and more on a debut disc, exploring music and poetry

For this, her debut recital on CD (on the Champs Hill Records label), mezzo-soprano Kitty Whately and pianist Joseph Middleton have come up with something intriguing. This Other Eden: A Landscape of English Poetry and Song combines English song (with the odd foray elsewhere) with poetry spoken by Whately's parents, the actors Kevin Whately and Madelaine Newton. The range of composers covered is wide with music by John Ireland, Peter Warlock, Roger Quilter, Ivor Gurney, RVW, Herbert Howells, Charles Villiers Stanford, Michael Head, Joseph Horovitz, James McMillan, Benjamin Britten and Samuel Barber. This latter for Dover Beach which sets the poetry of Matthew Arnold (a friend of Whately's ancestor Archbishop Whately). The presence of the Navarra Quartet on the disc means we also get songs by Roger Quilter and RVW which use instrumental accompaniment.

One of our favourite Sunday radio programmes is Words and Music on BBC Radio 3, a seamless blend of words and music on a particular theme. Last year, during the Free Thinking Festival at the Sage Gateshead, BBC Radio 3 broadcast a live version of the programme with Kitty Whately (then a BBC Radio 3 Young Generation Artist) and her parents. This disc very much has a feel of one of these programmes, with the advantage that at home with a Cd the listener can skip the spoken bits if they really wish (but I would not advise it).

Monday, 16 March 2015

Catrin Finch launch for WaterAid

Catrin Finch - photo credit Rhys Frampton
Catrin Finch
photo credit Rhys Frampton
Harpist Catrin Finch is releasing her new album Tides on her new label Acapela on 23 March 2015. The album will be launched at a concert at the Union Chapel on 24 March 2015 which will be a fundraiser for the charity WaterAid.

The album includes original material composed by Catrin Finch, and you can see a preview from the album on YouTube. Finch recorded Bach's Goldberg Variations in 2007 for Deutsche Gramophon and since then she has recorded three further albums. She is the former Royal Harpist to HRH the Prince of Wales, holding the appointment from 2000 to 2004.

WaterAid is an international development charity with a mission to ensure everyone has access to safe water and sanitation.

Making Music on the edge of Europe

Sascha Goetzel and Zeynep Hamedi photographed after the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic concert
Sascha Goetzel and Zeynep Hamedi
photographed after the
Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic concert
photo credit Ozge Balkan
The view from our restaurant in Istanbul gives a magnificent panorama of the Bosphorus with the shore of Europe on one side and that of Asia on the other. I am in Istanbul as a guest of the Borusan Foundation to meet members of the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra and hear it perform Haydn's The Seasons (see my review). And with Asia within sight, it is clear that the orchestra really does make music on the edge of Europe.

Giuseppe Donizetti
Giuseppe Donizetti
Classical music in fact has a long history in Turkey, in 1828 Giuseppe Donizetti (brother of the composer) became Instructor General of the Imperial Ottoman Music at the court of Sultan Mahmud II (1808–39) and Giuseppe Donizetti was in Turkey until his death in 1866. He trained the European-style military bands of Mahmud’s modern army, taught music to the Ottoman royal family, and he was involved in the the annual Italian opera season, concerts and operatic performances at court, and played host to a number of eminent virtuosi who visited Istanbul. A later Sultan built his own opera house and hosted private opera performances with Italian singers. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as part of his programme of modernisation of the the Turkish state, introduced Western style opera and ballet companies (Dame Ninette de Valois worked on the founding the latter), symphony orchestras and music conservatoires.

But the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra is quite young, being founded in 1999 but based on the Borusan Chamber Orchestra which was founded in 1993. The Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra's founding music director was the Turkish conductor Gürer Aykal. Since 2009 the orchestra's music director has been the Austrian conductor Sascha Goetzel. The orchestra is nearly all Turkish (only four non-Turks generally perform) and most are trained in Turkish conservatoires. It is a young orchestra, with an average age of around 30 and the youngest is currently 20. When I heard them perform, I noted that at least 50 percent of the players on the platform were women (including a woman trombone player).

Original fire - Manuel de Falla at the Wigmore Hall

Nash Ensemble - © Hanya Chlala/ArenaPAL
Nash Ensemble - © Hanya Chlala/ArenaPAL
Ravel, Falla, Martin; Bernarda Fink, Nash Ensemble, Juanjo Mena; Wigmore Hall
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Mar 14 2015
Star rating: 5.0

Falla's original versions of his ballets, surrounded by music evoking Spain

The Nash Ensemble is coming to the end of its 50th anniversary season, and on Saturday 14 March 2015 the group gave two concerts at the Wigmore Hall. I missed the early evening celebration of contemporary works commissioned by the group from Huw Watkins, David Matthews and Michael Berkeley, but heard the evening concert when Argentinian mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink and flamenco guitarist Juan Martin joined an expanded Nash Ensemble, and conductor Juanjo Mena for a Spanish themed programme. The music of Manuel de Falla was the main focus of the evening with act 1 of El Corregidor y la Molinera (the original  version of The Three-Cornered Hat), Seven Spanish Folksongs and El Amor Brujo (in its original version), plus Ravel's Le tombeau de Couperin and flamenco music by Juan Martin.

Bernarda Fink - photo Stefan Reichmann
Bernarda Fink - photo Stefan Reichmann
The concert was planned to start with the music of Turina, but in the event we were treated to a sparkling account of three movements from Maurice Ravel's suite Le Tombeau de Couperin played by Philippa Davies (flute), Gareth Hulse (oboe), Richad Hosford (clarinet) Ursula Leveaux (bassoon) and Richard Watkins (horn). Ravel originally wrote the suite between 194 to 1917, emulating the French baroque tradition of tombeaux (keyboard suites) written in tribute to late colleagues, by writing a keyboard (piano) suite in memory of Francois Couperin, but with each movement dedicated to a friend who had died in the First World War. Ravel orchestrated four of the six movements, and it is in this orchestral form that the work became famous. Mason Jones (1919-2009) was the principal horn of the Philadelphia Orchestra and his arrangement for wind quintet was published in 1970. Based heavily on Ravel's orchestration (Jones's oboe part is identical to Ravel's first oboe part), Jones also drew on the piano score and orchestrated one of the movements that Ravel did not.

The players from the Nash Ensemble gave us three movements, Prelude: Vif, Menuet: Allegro moderato, Rigaudon:Assez vif. The opening prelude was fast and impulsive, led by the fluent oboe playing of Gareth Hulse, with all the others following. Marked Vif, this was very Vif indeed and the phrases tumbled over themselves but always with clarity and elegance. The minuet was beautifully shaped and balanced, with hints of wit in the playing. There was a lovely vital feel to the music of the Rigaudon, with a real sense of interaction between the players. The middle section was graceful with elegant oboe playing from Hulse.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Haydn's Die Jahreszeiten in Istanbul

Miah Persson, Ian Bostridge, Duncan Rock, Sascha Goetzel, Salzburg Bach Choir, Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra - Borusan Istanbul Filarmoni Orkestrasi - Photograph Ozge Balkan
Miah Persson, Ian Bostridge, Duncan Rock, Sascha Goetzel,
Salzburg Bach Choir, Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra
Borusan Istanbul Filarmoni Orkestrasi - Photograph Ozge Balkan

Haydn Die Jahreszeiten; Persson, Bostridge, Rock, Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra, Goetzel; Istanbul Lütfi Kirdar ICEC
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Mar 12 2015
Star rating: 5.0

Vital characterful performance from Istanbul orchestra in its first oratorio

Joseph Haydn's last oratorio Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons) was conductor Sascha Goetzel's choice for the first oratorio performance by his Borusan Istanbul Phiharmonic Orchestra in the Istanbul Lütfi Kirdar ICEC on Thursday 12 March 2015. Goetzel and the orchestra were joined by soloists Miah Persson, Ian Bostridge and Duncan Rock, and the Salzburg Bach Choir.

Haydn's Die Jahreszeiten was intended as a follow up to his previous oratorio Die Schopfung (The Creation) and again Baron Gottfried van Swieten was a prime mover and he created the text basing it loosely on James Thomson's poem The Seasons. Van Swieten created a parallel English text so the work could be performed in either English or German (as for The Creation) to respond to Haydn's continuing English popularity, but his English translation is only loosely based on Thomson's poem and his English is not ideal and the work is nowadays performed in German as it was in Istanbul.

The Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra (Borudan Istanbul Filarmoni Orkestrasi) performs the majority of its concerts in the Istanbul Lütfi Kirdar ICEC which is the Istanbul conference centre, as the Atatürk Cultural Centre in Istanbul is closed with no current prospect of re-opening. The conference centre provides a large modern space with a surprisingly successful acoustic in the large scale Haydn work and certainly no worse than hearing something in the Royal Festival Hall in London. Sight lines were certainly good.

Semele at the London Handel Festival

Anna Devin
Anna Devin
Handel Semele; Devin, Charlesworth, Innes, Eubanska, Valdmaa, Humphreys, cond: Cummings; London Handel Festival at Queen Elizabeth Hall
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Feb 09 2015
Star rating: 5.0

Dazzlingly opening to the 2015 London Handel Festival

The 2015 London Handel Festival is upon us and it opened in fine style on Tuesday 10 March 2015 with a performance of Handel's Semele at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Laurence Cummings conducted the London Handel Orchestra and London Handel Singers with Anna Devin in the title role and Rupert Charlesworth as Jupiter, Louise Innes as Juno, Ewa Gubanska as Ino, Maria Valdmaa as Iris and George Humphreys as Cadmus and Somnus.

Rupert Charlesworth - photo Paul Kolien
Rupert Charlesworth - photo Paul Kolien
Handel wrote Semele for concert performance and though it is popular to stage it, it works very well in concert form. The audience in 1744 did not really know what to make of it. In his Italian operas Handel showed himself interested in using their rather more mixed style as compared to the perfections of Metastasio. So it is not surprising that William Congreve's libretto, written in 1705-1706 for John Eccles, appealed with its flexibility of structure and the way arias take the action forward. In fact in her article in the programme book, Ruth Smith speculates that Handel may have seen Eccles' score (written but never performed).

The advantage of a London Handel Festival performance is that we heard the whole work complete (around 170 minutes of music), something that might not be desirable in a stage performance.

Laurence Cummings and the orchestra (slightly beefed up, with four oboes and two bassoons), launched into a brisk and brilliant account of the overture. Throughout Cummings' spèeds were lively to fast, but this did not seem to phase either his players or his singers, and the more lyrical moments were given due space.

Festival performances provide a nice focus for previous winners of the London Handel Singing Competition and this was on exception. Rupert Charlesworth won both the First Prize and the Audience Prize in 2013, Ewa Gubanska won the First Prize in 2014, while Maria Valdmaa won Second Prize and the Audience Prize in 2014.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Temple Music and Temple Song


Temple Music
The concerts in the wonderful locations of Temple Church and Middle Temple Hall, organised by Temple Music, promise a lovely season of events. Temple Song, under the artistic direction of Julius Drake, includes performances from Roderick Williams, Mark Padmore and Toby Spence, whilst there are also visits from the Holst Singers, Lucy Parham and the English Concert.

The season opens with Mass and Motets for an Easter Vigil from the Holst Singers, performing Frank Martin's masterpiece of unaccompanied choral writing his Mass for Double Choir plus music by Allegri, John Sanders and Messiaen (19 March 2015, Temple Church). Then there is a commemoration of another kind as on 21 April 2015, the Liberation of the Concentration Camps in 1945 is remembered with music by Verdi, Part, Bernstein plus music from the Jewish liturgy performed by The Temple Singers, the choristers from Temple Church Choir and the choir of the West London Synagogue, as well as film footage from the period (21 April 2015, Temple Church).

The next Temple Song event is on 29 April 2015 in Middle Temple Hall, when tenor Mark Padmore and baritone Roderick Williams perform Songs of the Sea with pianist Julius Drake and readings from Rory Kinnear. The programme will include music by  Brahms, Faure, Haydn and Schubert, with readings from Eliot, Hardy, Lear, Kipling and Tennyson. And on 8 June, tenor Toby Spencer joins the Doric Quartet and Julius Drake for a programme which includes Elgar's Piano Quintet and RVW's On Wenlock Edge.

Pianist Lucy Parham is joined by narrators Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman on 5 May 2015 in Middle Temple Hall, for Odyssey of Love: Liszt and his Women. Scripted by Lucy Parham the evening will mix words and music to illuminate the colourful life of the first piano virtuoso.

The English Concert, conducted by Roger Sayer, with soloists Grace Davidson, David Allsopp and Giles Underwood will be performing Mozart's Requiem, along with music by Schubert (21 May, Temple Church). Raphael Wallfisch performs all the Bach unaccompanied cello suites in Temple Church on 17 June 2015, and the Gentleman of St John's, made up of choral scholars from St John's College Cambridge, perform an evening of close harmony on 7 July.

Full information from the Temple Music website.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Flight of Angels

Flight of Angels - The Sixteen
Flight of Angels - music by Guerrero and Lobo; The Sixteen, Harry Christophers; CORO
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Mar 3 2015
Star rating: 5.0

Music from the Spanish Golden Age in the Sixteen's inimitable manner

The Sixteen's Choral Pilgrimage this year is called Flight of Angels, and for it the choir will be taking  programme of 16th century Spanish sacred music on tour. This new disc Flight of Angels on their own Coro label is their recording of the music to be taken on tour and in it the choir presents music by Francisco Guerrero and Alonso Lobo, both working in Seville and the best known composers from the Spanish Golden Age. Guerrero's Duo Seraphim a 12, Laudate Dominum a 8, Maria Magdalene and Vexilla Regis are performed with movements from is Missa Surge propera, Missa de la batailla escoutez and Missa Congratulamini mihi, plus Lobo's Libera me, Ave Regina caelorum, Ave Maria a 8, Versa est in luctum and a movement from is Missa Maria Magdalene.

The music is firmly based in Seville and anyone listening to the music ought to be looking at images of the Cathedral and other surviving architecture from the period. Freed from the Moors in the 13th century the city's cathedral was built on the site of the mosque and was the grandest cathedral in Christendom. A busy port, Seville reflected the richness of the mix of cultures with superbly grand architecture including the Alcazar, the royal palace which was originally a Moorish fort.

The music reflects this richness, with both Lobo and Guerroro writing music which has a highly developed sense of its texture and enjoys exploring the sound world created. The stately vocal lines and steadily intertwining polyphony is not the most complex music ever created, instead it luxuriates somewhat in the very richness of the textures. Recorded at St. Augustine's Church, Kilburn the 18 singers create a sound which resonates and clearly fills the space.

The Yonghy-Bongy Bo rides again

Edward Lear's The Courtship of the Yonghy-BonghyBo
Edward Lear's The Courtship of the Yonghy-BonghyBo
JAM (the John Armitage Memorial) is celebrating 15 years of commissioning and supporting new music with a season launch concert on 18 March 2015 at St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, EC4Y 8AU when recent JAM commissions from Gabriel Jackson and Giles Swayne will be performed alongside music by John Tavener. Each year JAM puts out a Call for Music, inviting composers to submit pieces and the concert will include works by Tom Harrold, Michael Bonaventure, Lee Westwood, Janet Wheeler, Alison Willis which were selected from JAM's most recent Call for Music. 

The concert will include a performance of Giles Swayne's The Yonghy Bonghy Bo which JAM commissioned last year (see my review), and Gabriel Jackson's The Spacious Firmament (JAM commission in 2008). Performers will be JAM regulars, the Chapel Choir of Selwyn College Oxford and Onyx Brass, along with Cumnor House School Choristers and Simon Hogan (organ), conducted by Nicholas Cleobury.

Since launch in 2000, JAM has commissioned or given first performances of over 80 works from composers including Judith Bingham, Jonathan Dove, Paul Mealor, Paul Patterson, Tarik O’Regan and Julian Philips. Through its annual Call for Music JAM has given performances and first steps in the careers of hundreds of emerging composers. The recent JAM Call for Music received its largest number of submissions ever.

Further information from the JAM website.

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