21 June 2014 – Schott’s Recital Room
|Two Pages||Philip Glass|
|New Road||Derek Foster|
|Sotto Voce||Howard Skempton|
|Spiegel im Spiegel||Arvo Pärt|
|Midsummer Night Extreme||Derek Foster|
|Drinking and Hooting Machine||John White|
|Tract: Piano Field/Lontano||Kerry Andrews|
|Three Opaques||Paul Burnell|
|Over the heel stone||Deborah Edwards|
|Wedding Tune||Howard Skempton|
|Tough on Time||Ann Wolff|
With special thanks to Mick Glossop for recording this concert
Two Pages – Philip Glass
Two Pages by Philip Glass was written in 1969 and is cited as his first mature minimalist composition. Steve Reich was working closely with Philip Glass around this time, and at one rehearsal Glass appended the dedication “for Steve Reich” on a copy of the score. Two Pages contains only five notes in various quaver permutations and uses rigorous additive and subtractive processes across repeating figures. Each of the figures is repeated in an unbroken flow for a number of times determined by the performer. The repeating figures were originally presented on two pages of manuscript and used an abbreviated notation for some of the figures. The notated version used for this performance is that found in the collection ‘Philip Glass First Classics 1968-1969’ edited by Keith Potter and the seventy-five figures are more fully notated and therefore fit onto three pages. The piece can be performed by a solo keyboard player or a larger ensemble playing in unison. Shortly after writing Two Pages Glass went on to compose Music in Fifths, Music in Contrary Motion and Music in Similar Motion.
New Road – Derek Foster
Contakt is planning a future event at the Rag Factory, off Brick Lane. I hope to write some short pieces with a group name of Approaches’– routes to the area, and approaches to composition. Apart from being the name of a street in Whitechapel, ‘New Road’ is a slightly ironic title that refers to ‘New Music’ of the 50s and 60s, which is what I grew up with and is probably now thought of as old, but also to new ideas for me in that style that I hope to develop in other compositions.
Sotto Voce – Howard Skempton
This piece was commissioned for the Chamber Music Exchange by Thalia Myers, and was [first] performed in three concerts as part of that scheme in 2000 in Bath, Oxford and London. The constant low dynamic and regular pulse, together with repetitions of notes from one instrument to another [the piece is a strict canon], create a hypnotic minimalist piece where subtle and surprising harmonic effects take place.
Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt
“Spiegel im Spiegel” in German literally can mean both “mirror in the mirror” and “mirrors in the mirror”, referring to the infinity of images produced by parallel plane mirrors.
Midsummer Night Extreme – Derek Foster
I had the idea of marking the solstice today with some cut-ups of Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. A few years ago I played in Mendelssohn’s piano duet version of the Overture and, looking for the complete score, I came across a compressed and changed version for solo piano by Sydney Smith (1839 – 1889). Using elements of the Overture, Scherzo, Nocturne and Wedding March in the original and Smith’s versions and keys, I have produced an even more changed version with improvised elements. (East Asian names for the solstice translate as ‘Summer Extreme’)
Moonshine – Ann Wolff
The music reaches for the skies to spread its sounds in the shortest possible time ever.
Drinking and Hooting Machine – John White
Drinking and Hooting Machine (1968) is a example of a type of systems music developed by White as ‘machine processes’, the structure generated by numbers obtained by random or pre-determined processes. In the version that we are using, the number of events is determined by telephone numbers. The type of event will be obvious from the performance, but the composer writes ‘the resulting sound should resemble a large aviary full of owls performing very slow descending scales’.
Tract: Piano Field/Lontano – Kerry Andrews (View score)
Tract is a resetting of a much earlier very short piece for two pianos. It uses the available 4 pianos at Schott’s principally for its spatial layout. The specific qualities of the recital and rehearsal rooms of Schott’s, alongside writing for Contakt, are subjects that I have explored and used in several previous works. Topodrome, Time Folds, Ghosts and Dream Machine have all developed out of this space and these performers.
Tract sets out to explore ‘place’ in two ways, using the physical rooms as mentioned, but also looking at two articulations of space/place. These might be characterised as ‘field’ and ‘object’, or as open ground and enclosure – two different but related sound worlds.
Rotations – Deborah Broderick Edwards (View score)
The two instruments rotate, each on its own axis as well as around each other, sometimes frantically, sometimes peacefully.
Three Opaques – Paul Burnell
The three movements of Three Opaques are headed: 1. Blue; 2. Yellow; 3. Green.
Over the heel stone – Deborah Broderick Edwards – (View score)
…burn away the woes of winter
extinguish withered wintry wreaths
in summer flames.
Light bonfires on the hills
for all to see.
As the sun rises over
the henge’s heel stone,
make garlands of vervain and yarrow, fern and ragwort.
Sing the old names loud and clear.
Join hands to spiral through the streets in celebration
of the sun,
its power and its light…
Wedding Tune – Howard Skempton
Wedding Tune was composed by Howard Skempton in 1983, originally for violin and autoharp, and is dedicated to Julia Ryde and Martin Village. The autoharp is a type of chorded zither which has dampers which, when depressed, mute all the strings other than those that form the desired chord. The autoharp part is performed here by piano.
Tough on Time (Concerto for Triangle) – Ann Wolff
The triangle keeps time, and also marks time, tells time and beats time, but, all in all, has a tough time of it.