Romantic Remnants - Programme Booklet

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BEING “ROMANTIC” TODAY? Ever since we invented words, we have been giving them meanings. The word “romantic” has a lot of meanings. It is generally agreed that at the very

beginning, “romances” referred to stories written in a Romance language. Whilst most romances told stories about heroic quests and chivalric

adventures, they have soon taken on the concept of love at the end of the seventeenth century.

As we asked many random people on the street today, “what it means to be romantic?”, it seems

our understanding of it does still reflect a certain degree of influence as such. We heard people

associating it with “being bold”, “making an effort”, “taking the extra mile”, and the like. And quite often this is in the context of love too.

Some keen thinkers would

point us to the philosophical movement of Romanticism, which blossomed in the

nineteenth century. After

the Renaissance, it has been argued that it was since

the Romantic Era when our way of thinking has again

But we also heard people

who thought being romantic in general is to “be honest”,

“deviate from the norm”, “notice small idiosyncrasies”, and “drive

a Mitsubishi Outlander”(!). These are equally valid responses – in fact, it is an inspiration to hear all these different answers to the same question. But is it

this simple? Is there simply no

common thread that, somehow, links them all together?

undergone some really

profound changes. Being a Romanticist then was

to be free, spontaneous,

and natural. It was in part

a reaction to the Industrial Revolution and the Age of

Reason. As it developed, in the

face of an increasingly unpalatable

the world, but the go-anywhere

Mitsubishi Outlander is as near as

reality, Romanticism has evolved to

you can get to such freedom – and

that is, paradoxically, unreachable

friendly technology‌

encourage a longing for an ideal or has already been lost. It is a

strong urge to the unattainable. Particularly, such thought has

as natural as it can be with its eco-

What it means to be romantic

today? Perhaps we are all romantic deep in our heart, in all different

appeared to resonate amongst

ways but in a similar spirit. It might

amongst us today. Looking back:

suggest that, at this very moment,

but we make our best effort

romanticism – at least amongst

honest as we grow, but we try our

precisely a reflection of this.

the artistic circles, if not still so

an ideal relationship is impossible, nonetheless; we become less

best not to be anyway; we are

not actually be so improper to we are still living in an age of

its remnants. And my music is

constantly lured to the norm by its comfort, but we all secretly hope

to deviate; we cannot roam about

OWEN HO Project Leader

Composer | Conductor


25 OCT 2020. 6PM UKT

G reat H a l l , G o o d e no ug h Co l l e g e , Lo ndon

Petroushskates (1980) JOAN TOWER Kinderszenen [Scenes from Childhood], Op. 15 (1838)* ROBERT SCHUMANN (arr. OWEN HO, 2020) 1. Von fremden Ländern und Menschen [Of Foreign Lands and Peoples]

2. Kuriose Geschichte [A Curious Story] 3. Hasche-Mann [Catch Me]

4. Bittendes Kind [Pleading Child]

5. Glückes genug [Perfect Happiness]

6. Wichtige Begebenheit [An Important Event] 7. Träumerei [Dreaming]

8. Am Kamin [At the Fireside]

9. Ritter vom Steckenpferd [Knight of the Hobbyhorse] 10. Fast zu ernst [Almost Too Serious] 11. Fürchtenmachen [Frightening]

12. Kind im Einschlummern [Child Falling Asleep] 13. Der Dichter spricht [The Poet Speaks]

Romantic Remnants – Music for Dance, Motion Graphics, and Visual Art (2020)*^ Music OWEN HO | Dance & Costumes COMPANY CONCENTRIC | Motion Graphics HARUKA HOCHIN | Visual Art IAN MCNAUGHT DAVIS

* world premiere ^ commissioned by Bloomsbury Festival

DANCE Yearning, circling and reaching. Company Concentric’s approach

to Romantic Remnants is manifested through their play with fabric. Shared between the dancers but also claimed from time to time, the fabric is both inconsequential and of epic influence. In their

pursuit to contain and understand it, they are taken on a circular journey that never quite ends.

This piece comes as a response to the multidisciplinary work put together by Owen Ho and Ensemble Matters. It also follows a

period of research by Company Concentric into the collaboration between movement and fabric, which culminated in their work

“Remainder” (2020). The piece investigated the fleeting quality of

the fabric and its tendency to escape grasp or definition. Company Concentric is excited to bring this thinking into the performance of Romantic Remnants and continue developing their research.

COMPANY CONCENTRIC Choreographers & Dancers

Photo by Madeleine Rose Elliott

MOTION GRAPHICS My work consists of a series of animated

typography, using fragmented words from the first song from the song cycle, Dichterliebe [A Poet’s Love] (1840), by Robert Schumann, the

quintessentially Romantic composer. These abstract ‘remnants’ of the song create beautiful organic

forms, depicting key moments from the narrative through its dynamic and fluid movements.

For me, being romantic is to attach meanings to abstract moments in life and is never a

rational nor structured process. In a similar

manner, I approached this creative process in

an experimental, intuition-led way and saw how organically the outcomes fell into place.

HARUKA HOCHIN Motion Graphics Artist

VISUAL ART I’m especially interested in analogue

forms of image-making, and I’m inspired by Romanticism’s rejection of the over-

mechanisation of society during the Industrial Age.

It’s this sentiment of withdrawing from the

frenetic pace of progress that I have felt acutely lately. It seems that lockdown has pushed our

screen-time up and we find ourselves followed by digital imagery that transcends language

barriers and timezones. And almost all of these images are unsolicited.

The French philosopher Henri Bergson said, “Humanity must set about simplifying its

existence with as much frenzy as it devoted to complicating it.”

I have been exploring new ways of “simplifying” my art practice by using antique image-making methods and reducing my colour palette to a monochromatic scheme of blue and white.

The work I have made for Romantic Remnants are

photomontages made with cyanotype printing, an image-making technique from the 1800s.

I’m also also interested in the elusive nature of the colour blue – how it is confined to distant and untouchable bodies such as the ocean,

the sky, the horizon and distant mountains. I’m drawn to how blue’s evasive qualities embody Romanticism’s longing for the unattainable.


Adba. Cyanotype photomontage, 2020.

Rema. Cyanotype photomontage, 2020.

“O for a Life of Sensations

rather than of Thoughts!” So cries John Keats in an 1817

letter to his friend Benjamin

Bailey. In this preference for feeling over thinking Keats seems to encapsulate the

Romantic attitude. Following the forced abstraction of the Enlightenment, the



Romantic movement is often

presented as the reinvestment in personal, interior life—in

emotion, passion—of the sort

that produces newly sensitive artwork and personalities. William Blake castigates

Enlightened knowledge for its failure properly to value

spiritual transcendence: “away with your reasoning and your

rubbish,” he tells the historians of the Scottish Enlightenment. B y DR CH R I STO P H E R BU N DO CK Un i v e r s i t y o f Essex

Elaborating on this theme

in his short lyric “The Tables

Turned,” William Wordsworth expresses

his deep suspicion towards a modernizing

world that seems to advance through steely, indifferent cruelty:

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings; Our meddling intellect

Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:— We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art; Close up those barren leaves;

Come forth, and bring with you a heart That watches and receives.

John Keats by Joseph Severn (1819)

Taken to an extreme, this leads to Keats’s desire “for a draft of vintage” that

might whisk him “Lethe-wards,” into the blissful ignorance of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “pleasure-dome” in “Kubla Khan,” or Lord Byron’s “oblivion” in

Manfred, or even perhaps the total annihilation of human life in Mary Shelley’s apocalyptic novel The Last Man.

Isn’t this all painfully adolescent? Isn’t it a tad overwrought? Certainly some readers, especially in the 20th century, have thought so and dismissed

Romanticism as so much fluff. However, what these unfavourable assessments often overlook is the subtle complexity of the attitude at issue; there is a

tendency to miss the irony that pervades the period, from Keats and Jane

Austen in England to Heinrich Heine and Friedrich Schlegel in Germany.

Indeed, it was the latter who in 1797

“inaugurated the modern discourse on

irony” which he defined as “permanent parabasis” or constant interruption.

So consider Keats’s lament once more, but now tune your ear to the irony: “O for a Life of Sensations rather than of

Thoughts!” Try as he might to escape

thought, he can’t; despite his desire for empty sensuousness, intellect persists. The urge to be purely impulsive is

already curbed. The result of this is a rather more complicated attitude

than the typical caricature of irrational Romanticism. The resultant shape of

consciousness (to use an Hegelian turn of phrase) is one in which thought is

not repressed in favour of feeling, but one in which we feel the impossibility of ignorance, where we tarry with

the burden of our modernity and the responsibilities we cannot shirk.

“The Fighting Temeraire, tugged to her last berth to be broken up� by J. M. W. Turner (1839)

“Das Große Gehege bei Dresden” [“The Grosse Gehege near Dresden”] by Caspar David Friedrich (1832)

The Romantics, like us, know too much. There can be no retreat into

Coleridge’s pleasure dome: as you might recall, his writing of “Kubla Khan” was interrupted and the vision evaporates, leaving us with only a potent

fragment. There can be no escape into the the imagination, if by that we

mean a private reality: as a character in Mary Shelley’s Valperga says, the imagination is a “masterpiece of malice” capable of misleading us and

rationalizing evil. The Romantics are not so naive as to be seduced by “mindforg’d manacles,” even if lined with velvet. Indeed, the loss of such naiveté

is precisely what generates the bittersweet note telling of the simple life, the

natural world, and the traditional ways from which we have been barred by our own sophistication. The contemporary interest in Romantic representations of, say, the natural environment is thus not driven by the hope that we will there

find Nature unspoiled; it is motivated, rather, by sympathy with the bereaved:

before we destroyed the environment, the Romantics had lost it once already. Just as Virgil guides Dante through the Divine Comedy, perhaps Romantic remnants can guide us through the infernal tragedy of our age.

If a familiar longing for the impossible resonates through Romanticism, this

does not mean that melancholy is the only or even dominant mood. While we

certainly do catch that mournful tone—Wordsworth talks of the “still, sad music

of humanity,” for instance; Keats writes an “Ode to Melancholy” and Coleridge one to “Dejection”; Werther is, of course, suffused with “sorrow”—the same irony that generates Sehnsucht or longing sponsors new opportunities for thought and life. Out of the sense of “homelessness” that troubles much

early German Romanticism, for instance, comes the opportunity to change

what “home” means. Similarly, Percy Shelley would urge us “to hope till Hope creates / From its own

wreck the thing it contemplates.”

Ruination becomes reinvention. In a world evermore disenchanted, the

Romantics do not stubbornly revert to magic so much as create an entirely

new magic through their art. “I must create a system or be enslaved by

another man’s,” Blake insists. Today, in the midst of social, political,

biological, and climate emergencies, Blake’s words acquire fresh urgency. These problems will not solve

themselves and cannot be left in

the hands of others who seek only

to capitalize on, and so exacerbate,

disaster. By confronting paradise lost, Romantic remnants show us how to overcome the trap of nostalgia, to

turn from that seductive lie, and to

carve out, with compassion and love, a new and better world.


lecturer at the University of Essex. His research focuses on 18th and 19th-century English literature and thought. He works on a

wide range of genres - poetry,

engraving, painting, drama, the novel - and puts these cultural productions into conversation with prevailing forms of

knowledge in the period. Taking Owen Ho’s ROMANTIC

REMNANTS as a “springboard”, Dr Bundock will convene a Call for Papers for the Special Issue of Romanticism on the Net,

tentatively entitled “Romantic

Music Revisited” and scheduled to be published in 2022.

YANAËLLE THIRAN is a Belgian dance artist and teacher who

co-founded Company Concentric in 2018. Frequently involved in

interdisciplinary collaborations,

Yanaëlle has performed in several

art installations and choral shows. Since graduating from London Contemporary Dance School Composer/conductor OWEN HO is the first-prize winner of the

AESS Competition for Composers

2019 and a winner of the Arcubus Ensemble Call for Scores 2020.

His music has been published by UCLA Music Library and listed

on the CoMA Library. Apart from

Ensemble Matters, he also directs the Goodensemble Orchestra. As a doctoral candidate at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, his current musical

interest lies in the manifestations of romanticism in contemporary music. Previously, he obtained MMus with Distinction at the

Royal College of Music and BA with 1st Class Honours at the University of Hong Kong. His

studies have been generously supported by numerous

scholarships and awards.

and receiving the Principal’s

Award in 2015, she furthered

her dance training at Art Factory International (Italy), Trinity

Laban Conservatoire of Music

and Dance and the University of Chichester. Her choreographic

works have been staged at The Place, Siobhan Davies Studios and Blue Elephant Theatre,

and she performed in London and China with Intoon Dance.

Yanaëlle directed her first dance film in 2020.

HARUKA HOCHIN is a British-

Japanese Graphic and Motion designer. Her practice is

multidisciplinary — ranging from editorial and book design to

2D/3D animation, visual identity

and Japanese transcreation. Since graduating from the London SHIVAANGEE AGRAWAL is a dance artist with a practice

that concerns choreography,

writing and advocacy. Having trained in Bharatanatyam in

both London and Bangalore, Shivaangee has worked for a range of choreographers

including Janine Harrington,

Rosie Kay, Sonia Sabri, Seeta

Patel, Shane Shambhu and Suba Subramaniam. Shivaangee’s

newest work “North” premiered

at Bloomsbury Festival 2019 and last year she led the creation of

ReRooted Dance Collective, who are developing a methodology for classical Indian dancers

to work collaboratively and

experimentally in the studio. She is a co-founder and member of Company Concentric.

College of Communication in

2017 and studying abroad at the Aalto School of Art and Design, she gained experience working at design agencies in Tokyo,

Helsinki and London. She has

worked on projects ranging from

major clients such as Wimbledon, Marimekko and Air Canada to

non-profit theatre companies and small businesses. Alongside her

practice, she has been mentoring BAME students at the London College of Communication.


is a fourth year undergraduate

scholar at the Royal College of

Music and studies with both Gitte Marcusson and Sue Thomas,

generously supported by the

Dasha Shenkman Scholarship. Her recent performances IAN MCNAUGHT DAVIS is a

visual artist based in London,

who specialises in photography,

filmmaking and mixed media art. His work has been exhibited at the Somerset House Gallery in London, as well as in galleries

in Rome, Bologna, Cape Town,

Nepal, Ukraine, South Korea and Georgia. His photographs have been published in BBC News,

GQ, Men’s Health, OZY and Huck Magazine.

He holds a MA in Photography:

The Image & The Electronic Arts from Goldsmiths, University of London. Ian is especially

interested in analogue forms of image-making, and is inspired

by Romanticism’s rejection of the over-mechanisation of society during the Industrial Age.

include principal flute with RCM Philharmonic, concerts at the Opera House with The Albert

Wind Quintet and winning the

Flute category in the 2020 RCM

Woodwind Competition. She has also had the opportunity to have masterclasses from Emmanuel Pahud, Sam Coles and Adam

Walker and played in NYO from

2015-17 - performing in two BBC Proms concerts and recording

Holst’s ‘The Planets’ with Edward Gardner.

MIKAELA LIVADIOTIS is a pianist specialising in contemporary

works and improvisation. She completed her postgraduate

studies with distinction at Royal College of Music as a Kenneth

and Violet Scott Scholar under

the tuition of Danny Driver. Her

undergraduate degree was taken at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of FRAN CERVERA is a versatile

clarinettist who has graduated

from Master of Performance of

Music in Royal College of Music with distinction. His studies

were supported by the RCM

Award Woodwind and the Big Give Scholarship. He studied

clarinet under Tim Lines, Richard Hosford and Peter Sparks after finishing his undergraduate

studies with the soloist Jose Franch-Ballester. Fran has

performed with a variety of

contemporary music ensembles, being specialised in music of

K. Stockhousen and premiering

works through Spanish national scope. He has also played

with the Spanish Broadcasting

Television Symphony Orchestra (RTVE), Spanish National Youth Orchestra, Alicante Symphony

Orchestra or Valencia Symphony Orchestra, among others.

Music and Dance under Simon Young and Katya Lebedeva,

where she held first place in two Gladys Puttick Improvisation

Competitions (once with dance

partner YanaĂŤlle Thiran) and was a finalist in the Alfred Kitchin

Solo Piano Competition. She cofounded Company Concentric as a composer/performer and

has performed in venues such as St John’s Smith Square, Conway Hall, V&A Museum, and The Place.

TAMAKI SUGIMOTO is a recipient

of various international prizes and performs extensively across the

UK, Europe and Japan. Her recent concert venues include Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Purcell

Room, Kozerthaus Berlin and Tokyo Bunka Kaikan. Alongside solo/

chamber music making, she enjoys Born in England, ELIOTT

BOUGANT moved to France where he started his violin studies. After entering the

Toulouse Conservatoire at 16, he performed in orchestras such as

the Toulouse Chamber Orchestra and the Toulouse Philharmonic Orchestra alongside artists

such as Gautier Capuçon, Pierre Bleuse, Guillaume Chilemme,

and Gilles Colliard. He graduated with distinctions from the

Toulouse Conservatoire and

obtained a special prize in the international Marie Cantagrill

violin competition in 2018. Eliott currently studies with Maciej

Rakowski at the Royal College of Music (RCM). He has performed in masterclasses for musicians such as Svetlin Roussev, JeanJacques Kantorow and Alexis

Galperine among others. Eliott

plays a German Klotz violin made in 1733 on loan from the RCM collection.

working as a freelance cellist with UK’s major orchestras including

Philharmonia Orchestra, London

Philharmonic Orchestra and Hallé after completing schemes with

LSO, LPO and London Sinfonietta.

Having previously graduated from the Yehudi Menuhin School and Guildhall School of Music and

Drama, Tamaki currently studies with Melissa Phelps at the Royal

College of Music where she holds

a full scholarship supported by The Linbury Trust.


London-based group that

specialises in the modern/

contemporary repertoire and

beyond. Their repertoire ranges

from the modern classics to newly commissioned works, alongside

older works that are nonetheless

relevant and worth revisiting in a COMPANY CONCENTRIC is

new light.

a circle of collaborators who

“We matter, because we believe

and design. The creative

amidst the quickening pace of

Shivaangee Agrawal and

power that demands us to pause

Livadiotis, costume designer

It refines the way we see the

designer Sally Somerville-

as human beings. And the music

Studios (Belgium) and Pavilion


original choreographic works

Facebook and Instagram

combine skills in dance, music

in the importance of art today;

team comprises dance artists

the world, art has the unique

Yanaëlle Thiran, musician Mikaela

time, wonder, and contemplate.

Akshy Marayen and theatre

world. It refreshes our existence

Woodiwis. Supported by Rosas

that we bring to you does exactly

Dance South West, they devised and performed at Havering

Dance Festival, Resolution, Dance Festival Croydon and Quinzena

de Dança de Almada (Portugal).

From ‘Swapping Shadows’ (2018) to ‘Remainder’ (2020), Company Concentric’s creations feature strong musicality and vivid visuals.

Facebook and Instagram @company.concentric


Presented by

Supported by

*Hong Kong Arts Development Council fully supports freedom of artistic expression. The views and opinions expressed in this project do not represent the stand of the Council.