SOUNDS OF THE NEW New Dots presents six new works for harp, wind & string quartet The Forge, Camden November 14th 2013
Welcome to the third edition of New Dot’s ‘Sounds of the New’ performances. This evening we’ll take you on a journey - a kind of aural tasting menu foraged from the most intense and exciting new shoots of UK-based composition, executed to perfection by the incredible Octandre Ensemble. We open emphatically with the flowing, interwoven form of Patrick John Jones’ ‘Meet, Lock & Race’, moving through the extended exploration of the ensemble in ‘Gamma’ by Kristoffer To and on to the complexity of overlaid musical elements in Nick Morrish Rarity’s ‘Patina’. The second half of the programme begins with the disconcerting manifestation of physical discomfort and struggle for breath in Max Boon’s ‘Sailing Stones’ and moves via the delicate and precise interplay of dancing gestures in ‘Duo Music’ by Sam Messer to a calm and meditative conclusion as William Cheshire deftly melds the ensemble through a series of shifting chords in ‘Slices’. Collaboration is a central theme in the mission of New Dots and we have been increasing it’s emphasis with each edition of Sounds of the New. We’ll be bringing this to life tonight through a short film shot during a collaboration workshop in September which shows how tonight’s programme evolved. We hope you enjoy the evening Meet, Lock & Race by Patrick John Jones Gamma by Kristoffer To Patina by Nick Morrish Rarity Collaboration: a short film by Patrick Hallett-Morley Sailing Stones by Maxim Boon Duo Music by Sam Messer Slices by Wiliam Cheshire performed by The Octandre Ensemble (Conductor - Jon Hargreaves)
New Dots is incredibly grateful to the Fenton Arts Trust for their support, without which this concert would not have been possible
What made you want to become a composer? I write music because listening to it has given me some of the most exciting, moving, thought-provoking moments in my life. I want to try be a part of the creative process behind that power. I have to at least try. What was the inspiration or concept for the piece? I didn’t have a particular concept to start with, and I rarely do. Usually, I start composing by finding a musical object that appeals to me and suggests the potential for developing into a narrative. In this case, I began with the opening harp gesture, and the way in which it interacted with the choralelike gestures of the rest of the ensemble seemed to gather momentum of its own accord.
Which 3 words would you use to describe your approach? Mechanisms, narratives and playfulness. What makes you smile? Dinosaur Comics. If your house was on fire and no people were at risk, what would you save? A change of clothes, just so I don’t have to buy any new ones. Clothes shopping is agony. What musical performance has been most memorable for you? Joanna Newsom at Colston Hall, Bristol.
Saying that, whilst writing, an image emerged in my mind of the movements of a river - a bubbling, hesitant beginning as some kind of flow tries to establish itself, small rapid streams conjoining and dividing, pools of stillness, unexpected obstacles, eddies, dramatic changes in landscape forcing the water into different shapes and behaviours. My working title reflected this river image explicitly, but with distance I felt it unhelpfully imposed an extramusical meaning on the piece that didn’t entirely relate to it. The final title is truer to the shape of the music, and its ambiguity leaves more to the imagination.
Meet, Lock & Race
For flute, clarinet, harp, violin & ’cello [6.5 minutes] Distinct groupings of the five instruments weave around each other. The weave gradually becomes tighter and the music races forwards. The title is taken from Philip Larkin’s poem ‘Waiting for breakfast, while she brushed her hair’. Patrick has recently completed the MMus in Composition at King’s College London and will begin doctoral study this September in York with Thomas Simaku and Martin Suckling. twitter.com/@patrickulous
for flute, clarinet, harp, violins, viola and ‘cello [8 minutes] I took the Italian name meaning ‘Scale’ since all the pitch material in the work is based on my own system, I came up with 9 scales from short fragments of Schubert’s Piano Sonata in B flat (1st movement). I sometimes see composition as cooking: I have my ingredients (in this case the Scales), and at different moments of the work I use different ‘flavors’ so there is contrast in mood, texture and atmosphere.
Kristoffer graduated from the University of York in 2012, and is currently studying for an MA in Composition, supervised by Dr Thomas Simaku. soundcloud.com/kristoffer-to
What made you want to become a composer? I want to speak (and express my thoughts and feelings) to the whole Universe.
Which 3 words would you use to describe you and your approach? Directness, Glitter, (and perhaps) Creativeness.
What was the inspiration for the piece? I wanted to explore of variety of sounds and textures create from the whole ensemble. I then turned to a simple musical element and started to work. I based the entire piece on a series of scales of my own.
What do you listen to? I enjoy listening to both the Western ‘serious’ contemporary music and music from other countries for example Cuba, Ukraine, and my homeland Hong Kong. I like Helena Tulve, Michael Jarrell, Wolfgang Mitterer, Arne Gieshoff, and Jean-Pierre Guézec a lot. Recently I have discovered the music of Saed Haddad.
Describe your musical style I strongly believe that there is one thing in music, without which no delight in sound makes sense, and that is the intensity of silence. I have been experimenting with the use of silence in my music for as long as I can remember. I believe that silence is of fundamental importance to create the drama, atmosphere and climax in music.
What musical performance has been most memorable for you? ‘Concerto for Voice’ by the Norwegian vocalist and composer Maja S K Ratkje at last year’s Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. In the cadenza Maja ‘sung’, if that’s the right word, this wonderful, almost-non human, sound. It was the most intense moment ever created.
ity nick morrish rar Patina
for flute, clarinet, harp, violins, viola and ‘cello [8 minutes] Patina was born out of Jun’ichiro Tanizaki’s wide-ranging essay, In Praise of Shadows. The poetic vagrancy of the Tanizaki text reflects a literary style that rejects orderly exposition, and as such, ‘just following the brush’ became a primary structural, and artistic premise in the composition of the piece. Patina is dependent on the delicate compounding, and interweaving, of elements that have their own trajectory- with each element needing to both breath independently, and interact collectively with the group. What made you want to become a composer? I came to formal composition quite late and somewhat circuitously. As a teenager, I had become increasingly alienated by what I understood of the environment, and ethos, of classical music and as a consequence spent much of my time improvising, playing in bands and groups, and pushing against a perceived formality in the performance, and creation, of notated music. In spite of, or perhaps as a result of this, I became interested in exploring more complex textures and musical devices in an improvised setting- often incorporating found sound and materials atypical (or so I thought) to that idiom. This led me back to exploring both notated and improvised music that shared those interests, and a musical world that was as varied and broad in interest as I could have ever imagined Nick is currently studying under the supervision of Robert Saxton, at Jesus College, Oxford nicholasmorrishrarity.com
What was the inspiration for the piece? Patination is the natural result of the oxidization of metals, often leaving a vivid and colourful top layer. I wanted to explore ideas relating to the textural quality of patination alongside the poetic vagrancy of the Tanizaki text Which 3 words would you use to describe you and your approach? exploratory ,eclectic, intuitive What do you listen to? This changes all the time, currentlyPoul Ruders, Matthias Pintscher, Fausto Romitelli, Lutoslawski, Jon Balke, Hans Abrahamsen, CocoRosie What musical performance has been most memorable for you? The Arditti Quartet playing Abrahamsen’s 4th string quartet last year at Wigmore. What is the future of classical music? If I knew that, I wouldn’t tell!
The Octandre Ensemble is a flexible collective of London-based musicians, co-founded by composer Christian Mason and conductor Jonathan Hargreaves. The ensemble is dedicated to exploring the inner energy of sounds, and the webs of ideas that form around them. Sinan Savaskan is Composer in Association to the ensemble. Flute: Audrey Milhères Clarinets: Adam Slater Harp: Fontane Liang Violins: Aisha Orazbayeva, Rowena Kennally Viola: Clifton Harrison Violoncello: Corentin Chassard Conductor: Jon Hargreaves Jon Hargreaves is a conductor, arranger, composer and music educator. He conducts and co-directs The Octandre Ensemble, and teaches in the Junior department at Trinity Laban. Composer Christian Mason received the 2012 British Composer Award in the solo/duo category. His music has been described as “a very different world, gentle and subtly coloured” (Telegraph) Sinan C Savaskan (b. 1954) is a composer of orchestral, chamber and other performance arts-related contemporary music. He works and lives in London. His music has been commissioned, performed and broadcast in over twenty countries by some of the foremost performers of contemporary music. www.octandre.com
octandre ensemble Corentin
Audrey Milhères is the principal flautist of the Octandre Ensemble and was shortlisted for the Park Lane Group Young Artists series 2013. She has collaborated with many emerging composers and has a passion for music education. Adam Slater is a keen orchestral clarinetist and has worked with Opera North, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. Harpist Fontane Liang’s repertoire ranges from Baroque to contemporary and jazz. She has collaborated with composers, artists, dancers and filmmakers, and has played harp with London Sinfonietta, musikFabrik and for Nonclassical. Aisha Orazbayeva is in demand as a musician with a repertoire extending from Bach and Telemann to Lachenmann and Nono, and has given recitals for, amongst many others, France Musique, the BBC, and worked with ensembles including Ensemble Modern. Violinist Rowena Kennally works primarily as a chamber musician, founding the Evropska Quartet in 2010 and performing throughout Europe, studying at Basel Academy of Music with Rainer Schmidt and at the Netherlands String Quartet Academy in Amsterdam. Described as ‘the one to watch’ (Chicago Tribune), Clifton Harrison is artistic director of the Pythagoras Ensemble and is in demand as a freelance viola player and session musician. Corentin Chassard is a French ‘cellist based in London, working across Europe. He is a member of the award-winning Mercury Quartet, and the fresh new avant-garde ‘cello and laptop duo, Partial Gathering
maxim boon What made you want to become a composer? I first started writing music with the help of my first piano teacher. I would come to piano lessons and play her little tunes and harmonies I’d come up with while I was supposed to practicing scales and she would help me write them down. Which 3 words would you use to describe your approach? Hopefully not terrible!
Describe your musical style The importance of sonority in my music is equal to the importance of the harmonic or rhythmic language, and I enjoy exploring the concept of the metainstrument in my compositions: building unusual sounds out of combinations of different instruments, often employing extended techniques. Hopefully this creates a nuanced and texturally varied musical palette. What do you listen to ? It’s really hard to cut this down to a short list! I listen to a huge range of music - of the contemporary classical repertoire I really love the music of Bent Sørensen, Jesper Nordin, Dai Fujikura, Boulez, Adès, Ben Frost, Brett Dean - composers who have amazing control of instrumental colour. That’s really not an exhaustive list by any means! I also have an unhealthy amount of Abba on my itunes! What makes you smile? My husband Toby.
for flute, clarinet, harp, violins, viola and ‘cello [9 minutes] The title of my piece is taken from a natural, unexplained phenomenon that occurs on the desert plains of North America, particularly in Death Valley. Stones, or boulders, appear to move by themselves, leaving tracks in their wake. These tracks are made over many years, and while the physical evidence for these self-propelled stones is obvious, the actual mechanics are unexplained. The title is also a poignant metaphor for my personal experience: at the end of 2012 I became extremely ill with Pneumonia, and then a secondary, chronic condition called HVS for which the diagnosis was extremely elusive but the symptoms all too evident. Maxim’s works have been performed by The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Sinfonietta, amongst others. soundcloud.com/maxim-boon
Sam received a BA (Hons) in Music (Composition) and Engish Literature from Canterbury Christ Church University in 2010 and a Masters in Music (Composition) in 2011. soundcloud.com/samuelmesser
for violin and ‘cello [7 minutes] Initially written in 2012, duo music was heavily revised in the summer of 2013 for performance by the Octandre Ensemble in association with New Dots. This short, nocturnal piece was conceived as a response to compositional concerns surrounding pitch and harmony, and often moves by single notes or static, unchanging pairs, rather than fullyfledged chords. Whilst writing the work I became fascinated by the way in which certain rhythmic gestures would give a different musical effect when ‘leaned on’ a little, or extended. In the central section of the piece, dancelike figures based upon simple pitch cells skitter and interact in ever-changing ways whilst still remaining true to the version first heard. In fact, the piece as a whole is an exploration of ideas of gesture, the way in which the two instruments interact through the music. At times, the two speak in conjunction or move together; at others, they seem to be distantly separated, calling from afar. What made you want to become a composer? Writing songs as a teenager & playing with electronic sequencing/editing software. Ultimately coming across a huge amount of music written since 1950 whilst at university proved the final step. What was the inspiration for the piece? I began by thinking of the violin and ‘cello almost as people; the piece became a study of the ways in which the two voices balance and interact with one another throughout. Describe your musical style Sparse & quiet, often with fragile sounds produced by exploration of extended techniques.
Which 3 words would you use to describe you and your approach? Cautious; hesitant; unhasty (wherever possible). What do you listen to? Classical music, jazz, indie, electronica, and things that fall inbetween. What musical performance has been most memorable for you? My most rewarding experience thus far was as part of a trip to Australia to take part in the 2012 ‘Forme Uniche’ project. Though the work resulting from this workshop series was only given a partial premiere, the experience as a whole was hugely rewarding and helped me learn a lot about myself as a composer.
for bass clarinet & string quartet [8 minutes]
Slices is a quiet succession of alternating, repeating, and shifting chords. Surface quality is crucial, and the ensemble sound itself, as with much of my music, is a constant focus. I wanted to blend the bass clarinet with the strings, highlighting their timbral similarities rather than their obvious differences. The piece is a single movement. What made you want to become a composer? I think I was around 16 when I first encountered the music of Steve Reich and Philip Glass, and they definitely sparked my interest in contemporary classical music. What was the inspiration or concept for the piece? My pieces always start with some sort of material. Once I have then decided what I want to do with that material, the piece gets written.. I never start with concepts or direct external inspiration. Describe your musical style I resist thinking about style too much. I would describe the way I work as focused and paired-down, often with a limited harmonic palette and elements of repetition.
What makes you smile? Coffee and cake, for sure. What musical performance to date has been most memorable for you? Not strictly just a musical performance, but a recent performance of Steve Reichâ€™s Drumming by the Belgian ensemble Ictus, alongside Anna Teresa De Keersmaekerâ€™s choreography and the Rosas dance company was excellent. What is the future of classical music? I really wouldnâ€™t like to say, although I am confident that there IS a future for contemporary classical music
Which 3 words would you use to describe you and your approach? Simple, direct, reduced. William is soon to complete the Guildhall Artist Masters Programme, where he has studied with Laurence Crane with the generous support of a Guildhall Trust scholarship. williamcheshire.co.uk
Patrick Hallett-Morley’s short film shown this evening was filmed at the New Dots collaboration day in September this year. The film ains to capture the essence of the collaborative and creative sprirt at play as tonights composers worked with the Octandre Ensemble and reknowned composer Sinan Savaskan to develop their pieces.
Patrick is a Cambridge based documentary and corporate filmmaker, specialising in technology, education and the arts.
New Dots is extremely grateful to the estate of Chris Bull for finacial support. Maxim Boon Jeremiah Crawley
Claire Hay For more detailed biographical information on each composer please see the New Dots website.
Josh Jones Andrew Mellor Melissa Mellor Cathy Pyle Gordon Smith A special thank you to Sinan Savaskan for dedicating his time to support and guide our composers If you are interested in becoming a patron or volunteering to help organise events, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org Our next concert will be in June 2014 details on our website soon www.newdots.org.uk facebook.com/newdotsmusic twitter.com/newdots soundcloud.com/newdots New Dots is registered as a charity in England and Wales No. 1148508 All portrait photography © lemon yellow photography 2013 Programme design and new dots logo © New Dots 2013