Cardew, Hind, Cashian, Harvey, Matthews and Hoddinott
Still waiting for the BBC to broadcast this recital of varied music performed by the percussio/oboe duo of Joby Burgess and soprano/piano partnership of Claire Booth and Andrew Matthews Owen which I attended at the Southbank on march 1st this year...
Sounds quite an ... err ... "eclectic" mix of composers, Rosie.
Alas, if the "highlights" from the Huddersfield Festival broacasts are anything to go by, the programmes (carefully selected by the performers to provide maximum effect and demonstrate connections between and among the works) are hacked apart and either re-ordered or scattered among different programmes. You might even have missed some of the works that might have been broadcast but stuck, unannounced, at the end of a programme that was running short.
But, hey: at least we get to hear what the announcers were thinking when they heard the piece, so not all bad, then!
Thanks for the post.
I think the least Radio3 can do for SPOILING the whole concert experience (there were microphones all over the stage which really did obscure the view for some people) is to broadcast the concert.
It was eclectic indeed but it worked as the 2 duos performed the music that suited them. The Percussion / Oboe duo (not really my cop of tea, tho I like the percussionist) played very daring 'stuff' indeed by Rolf Hind, Nicholson, Cardew, Skempton (this piece had charm) whilst Claire Booth and her pianist performed some very affecting songs with real panache: Harvey, Matthews, Woolrich, Cashian and Hoddinott's first collaboration with Myfanwy Piper 'A Contemplation upon Flowers' (the latter as it was St David's Day - this piece went down very well with us)
I expect this concert to be broadcast in its entirity, and to feature some of the performers commenting on the programme - both Joby Burgess and Andrew Matthews-Owen spoke during their slots in the concert - very well too. Far more fluent and well informed than most of the hacks currently chatting on Radio 3. Where has the substance gone?
New music needs informed commentary from those who do it, understand it and believe in it.
How are light weight broadcasters going to convey the sort of enthusiasm or knowledge when they don't really have any?
I am not entirely convinced. If new music is any good it will speak of and for itself and "need" nothing.
Originally Posted by Rosie55
For once I have considerable sympathy for a view expressed by Eva's lesser half. A composer of new music, posting as "Newtonality" on the old BBC boards, advised "just listen" and attracted some opprobrium for doing so. I do not in any way object to attempts at exegesis re. new music, but such is no replacement for attentive listening.
Originally Posted by Sydney Grew
As to R55's "light weight" broadcasters, I find that a puerile comment, especially if applied to most of the H&N team. Those among them of my personal acquaintance are actively involved in the writing and/or performance of such new music and have a strong academic background in its varied methods. That said, one does hear the occasional equivocal comment from one or two of them where compositions by their friends and associates are concerned. Listening between the lines, one picks up on the negative assessment behind such equivocation, (no names, no pack drill).
I agree with both your paragraphs, Bryn; my own closing comment above was a response to the presentation of the HCMF events on H&N. I have the greatest respect for Sara Mohr-Pietsch and Robert Warby who both have excellent track records of presenting programmes individually, but the "dialogue" between them here wasn't always elucidating. I would have much preferred to hear in full the fascinating pieces by James Saunders and Bernhard Lang only excerpts of which were broadcast (and these following discussions with the composers). I haven't noticed this way of presentation before (although the "cut and splice" rearranging of programmes is now some years old) and I hope it isn't something we'll have to get used to.
How I would love to be able to agree! However, I found I did need to do quite a lot of reading up before I was fully able to get into listening to Schoenberg and Webern, first of all needing to find out about processes and changes in their music that in fact represented a continuum from the past. From then on it was a matter of obtaining as many recordings of the music and following it through chronologically, work to work, where possible.
I lean towards Sydney Grew's view.
Originally Posted by Sydney Grew
There is no substitute for fully attentive listening, I agree, but this may be difficult in the comfort of one's home.
Of course when listening, new sounds are being registered in the ears, but then (at least for me) they are compared with the music database in one's head of previous listening experiences. So those with a big database won't need verbal comment.
My own experiences with 20th century music first occurred at college. Stravinsky was great, Agon was enjoyed but not completely understood. Schoenberg and Webern were also great, but there was a lot of Schoenberg, particularly the piano music, which could not be "cracked". All this without any verbal or textual support.
And there it stayed for many years, until a couple of years back, making another essay into classical music, and mentioning on the old R3 boards that Schoenberg's piano stuff was difficult, smittims suggested I listen to late Brahms piano. That gave me an essential clue, and enabled me to crack the 12 tone code.
It then all fell into place, including Agon. For me Schoenberg is the most difficult composer ever, across all musical genres west and east, to appreciate. Later developments, Stockhausen, Boulez etc. are just a breeze in comparison. Then much of second half 20th century music is influenced by Jazz, which I know a bit about, and this simplifies the decoding process.
Just a well-informed comment is sufficient in my view. Thus Robert Warby and SMP recently suggested a Tom and Jerry cartoon in relation to some music at the Huddersfield festival. Conlon Nancarrow - Joanna Mcgregor suggested a mix of Thelonius Monk and Bach.
a couple of thoughts
Originally Posted by Sydney Grew
Music is a sonic art
it needs listening as opposed to hearing
it also needs a context for the listening to take place in which is conducive to listening to the particular music
the context is different for different musics (and sometimes for different people )
some musics find their natural home in a broadcast form
for others the mechanics of broadcast make listening impossible
for some musics the difficulties of contextual disconnection can be overcome by the music being contextualised by introduction , text or other music.
It always helps me to have some background and I simply enjoy hearing what performers have to say. I do Hear and Now broadcast the Claire Booth recital. She is such a rare and valuable performer. I do recommend her Hoddinott CD - I hope composers like Hoddinott, Moeran, Rawsthorne et al get something of a revivial next year with all the Britten celebrations. Music of a special period.
Thank you all for your view on this thread I started and my apologies if I seemed puerile - I think I was feeling rather cross that day. Sarah and Tom presenting on H and N I enjoy and respect a great deal