Music of Today 2002/2003

Written by:

Julian Anderson – artistic director

Martyn Brabbins – series conductor

This series is supported by the Royal Philharmonic Society in association with the Philharmonia Orchestra

Entrance is FREE to all performances. Just turn up! For more information call the Philharmonia Orchestra on FREEPHONE 0800 652 6717

Introduction by Julian Anderson

It is a great privilege to be invited to take over the Philharmonia Orchestra’s innovative Music of Today series. It is a particular joy to be collaborating with the series conductor, Martyn Brabbins, who has a long established reputation for his vividly projected performances of even the most difficult new scores.

In planning this first season I have tried to compile a series of programmes which give the audience a chance to explore and discover a wide variety of music by living composers. In general I have avoided schools and trends, preferring to focus upon individual figures whose personal vision of music I find more meaningful. There is no overall theme to the series, but perhaps the concerts do reflect a bias of my own towards composers who possess a precise imagination for sound, colour and harmony at the highest level. This is music above all for the ear, as all music should be. Also the distance culturally across the channel has sometimes become curiously large, and in Music of Today I hope to bring over to Britain some well-known composers who have not so far received much attention here.

I very much hope you experience as much pleasure in hearing these concerts as I have had in planning them.

Thursday 17 October 2002, 6pm Royal Festival Hall

Alexander Goehr

Suite, Op.11

Idées fixes – Sonata for 13

“Goehr’s music is at once familiar and surprising, a quirky mixture of the predictable and the unexpected. I have a particular affection for these two pieces which date from either end of Goehr’s output. The early Suite was commissioned by Benjamin Britten, and is a delicate and decorative work, rather French in character. In contrast, Idées Fixes from 1998 is a punchy epigrammatic sequence of musical episodes which change little in themselves but constantly in relation to each other.” Julian Anderson

Presented by Julian Anderson in conversation with Alexander Goehr

This performance will be repeated at the Bedford Corn Exchange, where the Philharmonia Orchestra is resident, on Wednesday 6 November 2002, 6.15pm

Sunday 10 November 2002, 6pm Royal Festival Hall

Richard Causton


Non mi comporto male

The Persistence of Memory

Jane Manning, soprano; Stephen Gutman, piano

“Of younger British composers, I have found Causton’s music some of the most consistently beautiful and aurally exciting. Few can compete with his ear for unusual sonorities, or with his flair for drama and pacing. I am especially thrilled to be presenting a revival of The Persistence of Memory, whose translucent sound world, inspired by Dalí’s famous ’soft watch’ canvas, features a special set of bells built by the composer himself.”

Presented by Julian Anderson in conversation with Richard Causton

Thursday 5 December 2002 6pm Royal Festival Hall

Denys Bouliane

Des caresses… (UK première)

Du fouet et du plaisir

Nicholas Hodges, piano

“Humour, speed and energy are the hallmarks of this Canadian composer whose teachers included Ligeti. New music is frequently accused of being overly solemn. Bouliane has a strong sense of wit, but he is never merely frivolous. As the titles indicate, there is a darker undertow beneath the high-jinx, and his sure command of instrumental resources lends the music a sharp, biting edge.”

Presented by Julian Anderson in conversation with Denys Bouliane

Thursday 6 February 2003, 6pm Royal Festival Hall

Simon Holt

…era madrugada


“Simon Holt is impressive for his strength and abstinence from any superficiality. This is intimate, highly personal music which makes a lasting impact on the listener, and for ths reason I have chosen to revive two works from the Eighties which hav elasted especially well. Holt’s fascination with the life and work of the Spanish poet Lorca is reflected in the pithy …era madrugada (literally ’he was murdered’, the fate which befell Lorca). A more playful side to his creative persona comes to the fore in his beautiful and rarely heard Kites, inspired by Japanese kite-flying techniques.”

Presented by Gillian Moore, Artistic Director of the London Sinfonietta, in conversation with Simon Holt

This performance will be repeated at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall, where the Philharmonia Orchestra is resident, on Friday 4 April 2003, 6.15pm

Saturday 5 April 2003, 6pm Royal Festival Hall

Anthony Gilbert

Beastly Jingles

Réflections, Rose Nord

Vasanta with Dancing

Marie Vassiliou, soprano

“When the opportunity for planning these programmes arose, Gilbert was one of the first names that came to mind. I love the range and breadth of his mind, the taste for odd subjects (as in the witty Beastly Jingles) and unusual instruments (mandolin, cymbalom, etc), and the tangy flavour of his harmonic palette. I’ve tried to reflect the diverse facet of his personality in this portrait of a composer who continues to contribute richly to our musical culture.”

Presented by Julian Anderson in conversation with Anthony Gilbert

Tuesday 29 April 2003, 6pm Royal Festival Hall

Michael Jarrell

Prisme (UK première)

Music for a while (UK première)

Maya Iwabuchi, violin

“Jarrell is one of the leading composers of his generation in central Europe, although as yet little heard in Britain, Swiss by birth, he has worked much at Boulez’ research institute, IRCAM, where he developed an exceptionally fine ear for the finest details of colour and timbre, Both the works in this programme reflect this penchant, although neither is electronic. The sound world once heard is not soon forgotten: a master of texture, line and harmony at work.”

Presented by Julian Anderson in conversation with Michael Jarrell

Thursday 19 June 2003, 6pm Royal Festival Hall

Garry Walker, conductor

An opportunity to hear music of tomorrow, composed by promising students of today at the culmination of a composition project with post-graduate students from the Royal College of Music. Working with Julian Anderson and members of the Philharmonia Orchestra, the students will create pieces inspired by works of art in the National Gallery.

Presented by Julian Anderson in conversation with young composers.

Garry Walker and the Philharmonia Orchestra, with Julian Anderson, will repeat this performance at the National Gallery on Friday 20 June 2003, 7.00pm. Tickets are £8 (concs £6), available in person from the Gallery. Admission includes glass of wine and after-hours visit to a special exhibition, Ron Mueck: Making Sculpture at the National Gallery. For further information call 020 7747 2888

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