Friday 17 January 2014

Toy stories in contemporary music in Birmingham

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group  (BCMG)
On Sunday 26 January, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) are giving a pair of Family Concerts at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham themed on toys. Toys, dreams and games all feature in the concerts with Thomas Ades' early masterpiece Living Toys receiving pride of place in an imaginative concert which pulls no punches when it comes to repertoire, but features quirky use of orchestral resources which should appeal to children of all ages. 

Richard Baker
Richard Baker
The underground cult group Modified Toy Orchestra provides the inspiration for some sonic invention bringing abandoned electronic toys to a new life, with a pair of works by Richard Baker and Brian Duffy (from the Modified Toy Orchestra). And Colin Matthews' To Compose Without the Least Knowledge of Music, a contemporary take on a Mozartian musical dice game, features a musical box and two melodicas. There will also be a new work by BCMG's new Composer in Residence, Arne Gieshoff. The new work is written for the intriguing combination of trombone trio and two melodicas. Gieshoff says he wants the piece to sound like 'a broken, mechanical toy that is unwinding'. Gieshoff is currently studying with Jonathan Cole, Simon Holt and Dai Fujikura at the Royal College of Music completing a Master's degree in composition.

The concerts are conducted by the young Swedish conductor Christian Karlsen and are created in collaboration with Stan's Cafe, the Birmingham-based theatre company. There are two concerts on 26 January, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

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