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Posted on by Simon Cummings in i | 3 Comments

Holidays beckon; back in two weeks, with a mega catch-up of all the new Proms premières…

Cheltenham Music Festival: Trio Mediaeval & Arve Henriksen

Posted on by Simon Cummings in Cheltenham Music Festival, Concerts | Leave a comment

Festivals come & festivals go, & Cheltenham—just like Bristol New Music a few months back—imaginatively opted to end not with a bang but on a high. It came courtesy of Norway, with the immaculate combination of Trio Mediaeval, three female singers with voices lifted straight out of the Middle Ages, & one of the most versatile trumpeters of our age, Arve Henriksen. The fruits of their collaboration, heard within the majestic space that is Cheltenham College’s Chapel, were as breathtaking as they were …

Cheltenham Music Festival: Pärt & Tavener, A Candlelit Tribute to John Tavener

Posted on by Simon Cummings in Cheltenham Music Festival, Concerts | Leave a comment

In a rare instance of pedagogical insight, my A-level music teacher once declared, “You can’t put composers into boxes; they have a tendency to get out”. It’s true, yet to some extent we all tend to do it, in our efforts to try & make sense of the musical landscape in front of us. In the case of composers Arvo Pärt & John Tavener, they tend to get that treatment from both directions, those who have striven to market every last …

Cheltenham Music Festival: Fidelio Trio, The Will Gregory Moog Ensemble, Tokaido Road

Posted on by Simon Cummings in Cheltenham Music Festival, Concerts, Premières | 1 Comment

Over the weekend, three concerts at the Cheltenham Music Festival, in different ways & for different reasons, caused one to reflect on the present within the context of ideas, experiences & memories from the past. The most frustrating & patience-testing were to found in the Saturday afternoon recital at the Pittville Pump Room given by the Fidelio Trio, the first half of which presented a threesome of works of the kind where composers dearly wish them to be more than the sum of their …

Cheltenham Music Festival: An Evening with Nicola Benedetti

Posted on by Simon Cummings in Cheltenham Music Festival, Concerts | Leave a comment

Once upon a time, it bore the proud title Cheltenham Festival of British Contemporary Music; for the last 50 years, it’s simply been Cheltenham Music Festival. Even though it has to a large extent yielded to the essentially conservative musical taste that pervades this part of the Cotswolds (as a Cheltonian myself, I can say that without compunction), Cheltenham has evolved into a festival where music old & new sit side by side, with many concerts featuring at least one …

Mix Tape #30 : Prime Numbers

Posted on by Simon Cummings in Mix Tapes | Leave a comment

For the new 5:4 Mix Tape, i’m not so much exploring a theme as a conceit. Mathematics has been a recurring feature of both my compositional & recreational activities lately, so for this new mix tape i’ve compiled a selection of music the titles of which incorporate the first 21 prime numbers. It was, i should say, quite a challenge, but the result is, i think, a highly stimulating mixture of exquisite non-sequiturs & unexpected aural connections. The mix is …

New releases: Fuzzy, Craig Leon, Gareth Davis & Machinefabriek, Tim Hodgkinson

Posted on by Simon Cummings in CD reviews | Leave a comment

Have you heard of Fuzzy? No, i hadn’t either – so i was pleased to explore a new compilation of music by the enigmatically-monikered Danish composer (otherwise known as Jens Vilhelm Pedersen), recently released by DaCapo. Chimes of Memory presents five works, most of them pretty hefty & which together indicate a composer of diverse interests & decidedly playful outlook. Electronics feature prominently, yet the longest piece is his 30-minute Notre-Dame Trilogy for solo organ, completed in 2006. Fuzzy’s approach …