Friday, 8 September 2017

Deep listening and classics re-interpreted: André de Ridder curates Spitalfields Music Festival

Andre de Ridder Artistic Curator Spitalfields Music Festival 2017 (Photo Brian Sweeney)
Andre de Ridder Artistic Curator Spitalfields Music Festival 2017
(Photo Brian Sweeney)
Spitalfield Music Festival this December has a new look, announced yesterday, as conductor André de Ridder takes over as guest curator, creating a programme intended to reflect the festival's location at the heart of one of London’s most vibrant areas. Monteverdi features highly with performances of the Eighth Book of Madrigals, alongside a variety of artists giving modern re-interpretations of Monteverdi's music with new works by Josephine Stephenson, featured composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Qasim Naqvi. Thorvaldsottir’s work is also featured by London Contemporary Orchestra as they give the London premiere of Light of Air including a light installation. André de Ridder’s own s t a r g a z e collective (recently seen at the David Bowie prom) performs a reimagining of Daniel Brandt’s Eternal Something and premieres by Nik Colk Void and Qasim Naqvi, so expect classical colliding with techno, experimental and electronix. And babies and toddlers are not forgotten as Musical Rumpus brings to life the multi-sensory world of Fogonogo.

Composer Josephine Stephenson, featured at Spitalfields Music Festival 2017 (Photo Brian Sweeney)
Composer Josephine Stephenson featured at Spitalfields Music Festival 2017
(Photo Brian Sweeney)
Dialogue between old masters and contemporary is a major theme of André de Ridder's programme, with not only the House of Monteverdi project contrasting the Eighth Book of Madrigals from David Bates and La Nuova Music with premieres and re-interpretations of Monteverdi, but re-interpretations of Schumann as well with Schumann Street. This is a staging and reinterpretation of Schumann’s song cycle Dichterliebe, inside the Huguenot Houses of Spitalfields, each of the 16 songs in Schumann’s cycle will be performed by a different artist drawn from a wide range of stylistic backgrounds including Bengali folk, rap, classical, soul and jazz. Visitors will create their own path around Spitalfields through this immersive song-cycle installation and experience intimate performances close-up inside these atmospheric historic homes. And at Rich Mix, with the aid composer John Barber and artists from Schumann Street Year 4 pupils from Osmani and Shapla primary schools will perform their own song-cycle inspired by Dichterliebe.

Singer/songwriter Abimaro, featured at Spitalfields Music Festival 2017 (Photo Brian Sweeney)
Singer/songwriter Abimaro, featured at
Spitalfields Music Festival 2017 (Photo Brian Sweeney)
Another old/new project involves an exploration of counterpoint. In Hyperchromatic Counterpoint three solo musicians will explore counterpoint across the centuries with James McVinnie performing movements from JS Bach’s Art of Fugue, Aart Strootman presenting Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint and, referencing both Bach and Reich’s work, Veli Kujala’s Hyperchromatic Counterpoint extends the melodic realm with his custom-built accordion into an expansive and psychedelic sound-world. In a related event, young musicians aged 11 - 16 from the Thames Big Band and Senior String Ensemble, working alongside Spitalfields Festival Artists, have created a new piece inspired by counterpoint and minimalism, combining the sound worlds of classical strings and big band Jazz.

Deep listening guru Pauline Oliveros is the focal point for In the Light of Air as the London Contemporary Orchestra will perform selections of work by Oliveros which explore producing sound naturally for meditative practice, hopefully transforming Shoreditch Church into a home for mindful listening. And following this the orchestra will perform the London premiere of Anna Thorvaldsottir’s In The Light Of Air which calls to mind the sparse landscapes of Thorvaldsottir’s native Iceland, featuring a light installation which dims and glows according to the players’ breath.

Full details from the Spitalfields Music website.

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