There are some very interesting live events looming between the doorstep and the horizon. Most imminently, New Dots—an excellent initiative designed to foster collaborative composer/ensemble relationships—will be presenting the next instalment in their ongoing ‘Sounds of the New’ series at the Forge in Camden next Thursday (14th). This time it’ll be given by the London-based Octandre Ensemble, in a concert of works from a sextet of up-and-coming composers (none of whom i’ve heard of, but that no doubt says more about me than them). Details of the concert can be found here, and it’s worth highlighting they’re also running a composing competition, scoping out new works for piano and/or percussion duo and/or electronics. Details of that here; but take note the deadline is 15 November.
Beyond this—yet still less than a week away—is contemporary music’s most happily disorienting annual splurge, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. This year i’ll be spending what i anticipate to be a frankly exhausting six full days at HCMF, and will be blogging about the proceedings as much as time and energy allow (like last year, expect coverage to spread through succeeding weeks as various parts are broadcast). It seems rather fatuous to refer to ‘highlights’ where HCMF is concerned, since almost every one of its 10 days is packed to the rafters with them; personally speaking, the prospect of world and UK premières from the likes of James Dillon, Brian Ferneyhough, Monty Adkins, Rebecca Saunders, Simon Steen-Andersen, Michael Finnissy, Konrad Boehmer, Jakob Ullmann (one of my biggest heroes) and Natasha Barrett in addition to an entire day of John Zorn leaves one more than a little giddy with anticipation. HCMF Artistic Director Graham McKenzie deserves a lot more than mere kudos for bringing together such a wondrous cavalcade of new music. McKenzie’s regular tweets suggest that many, if not most, of the concerts have nearly sold out; ticket info is available here.
Next month, back at the Forge, composer Piers Tattersall and pianist Christopher Guild are going to be presenting an evening of piano music with and without electronics, including works by Jonathan Harvey, Olivier Messiaen and Pascal Dusapin alongside music by Tattersall himself and a couple of other composers. Piers tells me he’s been working with Guild for several years, so it’ll be very interesting to hear the fruits of that collaboration, and it’s always a real treat to hear Harvey’s leftfield but dreamy Tombeau de Messiaen (if you don’t know it, get on with it). Full details here.
On top of all this avant goodness, i’m especially interested and excited at the prospect of Joe Bates’ Filthy Lucre project. Founded in 2010, the purpose of the project is to present what Joe describes as “mixed-genre, mixed-medium immersive music nights”—kind of like a Robert Rich throwback but with a far more active, thought-provoking raison d’être. Their next night is planned for Saturday 11 January at the Bussey Building in Peckham; running from 9pm to 5am, the night will feature new works as well as eclectica from the delightful likes of Scott Walker, Frank Ocean, Scelsi, Radiohead, Claude Vivier, Dirty Projectors and many, many more. There are so many reasons to enjoy and support occasions like these, so let me encourage you to visit the Filthy Lucre 3 Kickstarter page, read the extensive information about what’s going to take place (the prospect of soprano Juliet Fraser performing Vivier’s Bouchara ought to be enough to ignite anyone’s enthusiasm), and then make a generous donation to help it become a reality. They’re over halfway to their target of £2,500 and there’s just 11 days to go. i, for one, would love to see this happen.