Julian Anderson

Proms 2016: Julian Anderson – Incantesimi & Paul Desenne – Hipnosis mariposa (UK Premières)

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As the end of the Proms draws nigh, the new works seem to have been taking on an increasing delicacy. And, to a large extent, simplicity, Julian Anderson‘s Incantesimi taking inspiration from the orrery, a mechanical reproduction of the the solar system, while Venezuelan composer Paul Desenne, in a homage to late singer Simón Díaz, draws on one of his children’s songs, ‘El Becerrito’, about a cow called Butterfly who has a calf (also known as ‘La vaca Mariposa’; words here), as the basis for his work Hipnosis mariposa. Read more

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BCMG, CBSO Centre: Schuller, Abrahamsen, Anderson, Brennan, Maxwell, Stravinsky

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Last night’s concert given by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, conducted on this occasion by Oliver Knussen, was a typically tightly-packed affair, featuring seven works (plus an encore) that, despite their respective brevity, added up to a concert that was surprisingly lengthy and filling. Calling it an embarrassment of riches wouldn’t be exactly right, although both of those epithets made their presence felt. Of the former, there was the usual helping of forgettable Faberian froth, represented this time by Julian Anderson‘s The Comedy of Change and, to a lesser extent, Polly Roe by BCMG’s new Composer-in-Residence Patrick Brennan. Anderson’s overlong, seven-movement work—the title of which bore no relation to what one actually heard—was another iteration of his endless recycling of the same small pool of ideas, spiky staccatos firing away upon distorted unison melodic blather, not so much animated as made to twitch like electrified frog’s legs with large doses of velocity and rhythmic rigour. Read more

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Proms 2013: Julian Anderson – Harmony (World Première)

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Last night the 2013 Proms season began, as it now always does, with a world première from a mainstream composer. At the outset, i have to admit to a certain lack of enthusiasm for the occasion, due both to the recent track record of the opening night (Turnage and Weir in the last two years, both submitting relatively drab, safe pieces) as well as this year’s choice, Julian Anderson, a composer hardly renowned for much beyond accessible, occasionally quirky humdrummery. Anticipation was hardly heightened by Anderson’s pre-concert remark that there were only two options when writing a concert opener: “one is to write a piece that’s very loud and rather like a fanfare, and the other is to write a quiet and more meditative piece”. Seriously? Read more

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Proms 2010: Julian Anderson – Fantasias (London Première)

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Saturday 7 August’s Proms concert saw the first London performance of Julian Anderson‘s 25-minute Fantasias, a work the National Youth Orchestra has been playing around the country for the last few days, all under the direction of Semyon Bychkov.

It’s a work in five movements, the first of which puts the spotlight firmly on the brass section, about whom Anderson festoons a capricious collection of fanfare fragments, each of which gets thrown around like a drunken (almost pugilistic) hocket. It’s breathless, exhilarating stuff, showing the composer’s skill at collective brass writing (at times suggestive of some of John Pickard’s work). The remainder of the orchestra join in at the second Fantasia, the strings given something slow and potential, the winds to a large extent hiccuping at intervals (all very ‘Faber’); thankfully, it does broaden out into something less generic, first softening into a rather nice mush of overlapping strings atop tinkling celesta/harp offerings, before a semi-boisterous final few minutes where the instruments flounce around with gusto, like a chorus of dandies out on the town. Read more

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