16 June 2018
Event #5: New Music and Song
Dante Boon / Seamus Cater / Jürg Frey / Howard Skempton / Maya Verlaak / DNK Ensemble
New music has (re-)adopted melody and song in an unheard and fresh sounding way. The cross-pollination between conceptual & process-based compositions and melody has presented us new ways of hearing these old staples of music and communication. This event features both prominent and emerging composer-performers exploring sonic reflections and minimalist renderings of Folk tradition.
A night of song and dance:
Boon plays Skempton and Frey
Skempton plays Verlaak and Skempton
Cater and ensemble play Cater
Seamus Cater - New songs for voice and ensemble
Seamus Cater - voice
Johnny Chang - viola
Koen Nutters - upright bass
Germaine Sijstermans - bass clarinet
A new series of songs where Seamus Cater’s evolving curiosity for song style and form is presented within a new constellation of musicians specialising in minimal playing. Stepping away from the traditional role of balladeer with instrument, he has further reduced the lyrical content, concentrating on simple descriptions and language games while loosening some of the binding cords of structure. Although standing might suggest a nod towards a classical tradition of song delivery, this band can equally be imagined as a kind of listening folk ensemble concerned with a slow and detailed unfolding of ideas.
In Duplicate Delivered
Maya Verlaak - All English Music is Greensleeves - Solo (2016)
Howard Skempton - accordion
Maya Verlaak - electronics
All English Music is Greensleeves (for ensemble) was one of the pieces created within the 2014 series All (x) music is (y) involving also All Dutch Music is Andriessen, and All Verlaak’s Music is Alouette. This collection of pieces was developed by critically approaching the instrumentation, attitude, place, as well as aesthetic and socio-political values of an ensemble of musicians. All English Music is Greensleeves deconstructed the convention of the score, as a tool to communicate which notes to play on the instruments. Instead, the notes on the score gave options for how to stop the instrument from playing. Reflecting on ‘the musical score’ as a previously prepared, fixed and finished tool to communicate compositional material to the performer; In 2016, ‘All English music is Greensleeves’ developed into a composition for Howard Skempton on accordion and electronics.
Maya Verlaak is a Belgian composer and performer (born in Ghent, 1990). In 2008 she moved to the Netherlands to study at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague (NL). She studied composition with Gilius Van Bergeijk, Diderik Haakma Wagenaar, Peter Adriaansz and Martijn Padding. In June 2015 she graduated with a distinction.In March 2015, Maya got accepted in the AHRC funded Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. She moved to Birmingham (UK) and started her PhD in October 2015. Her supervisors are Michael Wolters, Howard Skempton and John Richards.
Maya is currently also curating (in collaboration with Richard Stenton and Zachaeus Dawson) 'Post-Paradise', a monthly concert series for New Music in Birmingham, UK. Programming local composers and guests from around the UK and abroad.
Howard Skempton - Three pieces for solo accordion
Howard Skempton - accordion
Slow Waltz (1973)
One for the Road (1976)
Dante Boon plays piano pieces by Howard Skempton and Jürg Frey
Dante Boon is a Dutch pianist and composer based in Amsterdam. A member of the Wandelweiser composers collective, he is known as an interpreter of experimental piano music. Boon has premiered over 50 works, many of which written specifically for him. He has performed at venues across Europe, Canada and the US. A three-concert musical portrait of Dante Boon was presented in 2012 at Düsseldorf's Klangraum. In 2013, he was a special guest at Michael Pisaro's Dog Star Orchestra festival of experimental music. In 2016, Boon was featured as a composer and performer at Quatuor Bozzini's Performer's Kitchen (Montreal). He work has been released on Edition Wandelweiser Records and Another Timbre.
Howard Skempton is an English composer who came to prominence as a founder member of the Scratch Orchestra with Cornelius Cardew in the early 70s. Since then, his particular branch of melodic experimentalism has gained in resonance and importance, he composes works for solo piano, chamber ensembles, choirs and orchestras; short, simple, gentle pieces without ostentatious development while highly sonorous and bustling in clarity. In parallel with this he has maintained a repertoire of thoroughly charming melodic works for accordion, a small instrument of 12 basses, characterised by short duration, obfuscated dance styles and developments of overlapping chords, very often dedicated to composers and musicians such as Laurence Crane, Christian Wolff, John Tilbury, etc.
Jürg Frey was born in 1953 in Aarau. Following his musical education, which finished with the examen de virtuosité in the class of Thomas Friedli at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève, he turned to a career as a clarinetist, but his activities as composer soon came to the foreground. He developed his own language as a composer and sound artist with the creation of wide, quiet sound spaces. His work is marked by an elementary non-extravagance of sound, a sensibility for the qualities of the material, and precision of compositional approach. Sometimes his compositions bypass instrumentation and duration altogether and touch on aspects of sound art.
He has worked with compositional series, as well as with language and text. Some of these activities appear in small editions or as artist's books as individual items and small editions. (Edition Howeg, Zürich; weiss kunstbewegung, Berlin; complice, Berlin). His music and recordings are published by Edition Wandelweiser. Frey is a member of the Wandelweiser Komponisten Ensemble which has presented concerts for more than 15 years in Europe, North America and Japan. Frey lives with his family in Aarau (Switzerland), teaches clarinet, and organises the concert series moments musicaux aarau as a forum for contemporary music.
in memoriam cornelius cardew (1993)
Well, well, Cornelius (1982)
Toccata (in memory of Morton Feldman) (1987)
Two Highland Dances (for John Tilbury) (1970)
First Prelude (for Donald and Kathleen) (1971)
passing fancy (for Benjamin Britten) (1975)
Of Late (in memory of John Cage) (1992)
The Durham Strike (for John Tilbury) (1985)
De Appel (Broedplaats Lely)