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Blog Category: eclectic music

Autism and the power of music

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Why am I blogging about autism?

I’m prompted by the manager of an artist who has recorded a song about his nephew who has Asberger’s Syndrome. The artist is Errol Sammut and the song, Burton’s Song is being used to raise awareness about autism via a number of charities and notably The Marigold Foundation.

You can listen to Burton’s Song here.

Go to The Marigold Foundation facebook page.

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Yellow Lounge Live

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Categories: british composers, british performers, contemporary classical music, eclectic music, live performance, Uncategorized
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Yellow Lounge hits high note for young audiences

I was reading an article in BBC Music Magazine about classical performers increasingly thinking beyond the traditional concert halls in order for classical music to be heard by new audiences.

This thinking is not particularly new of course as musicians have always had to be inventive about how they present and market their music to audiences and has certainly been the case for the 40 years of my professional career.

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Opinions divided on David Bowie Prom

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David Bowie

David Bowie

Ever since the oversight of Roger Wright, the Proms Festival has pushed its boundaries and widened its horizons.

David Pickard’s crossover programme taking Bowie’s repertoire and giving it new treatments by Anna Calvi, John Cale, Marc Almond, Laura Mvula and Elf Kid, sought to pay homage but has attracted widely and wildly diverse reactions and polarised opinion.

Here’s a sample, which just goes to show, you can’t please all of the people all of the time!

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Operatic Opportunities

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Summer is here and open-air opera is upon us – Glyndebourne, Garsington and W11 to name but a few, but let me cast back a little – nominations in the ‘Best new opera production’ category for the UK’s Olivier Awards were announced just before Easter this year and it’s interesting to observe that three of the four nominated works were ENO productions. One of the three, Caligula, was by a living composer – Boosey & Hawkes published, German composer, Detlev Glanert.  The fourth nomination, also by a living composer, was staged at The Barbican – Philip Glass’s, Einstein on the Beach.

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Baroque Spring

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In one of my early tutti talks, I mentioned the BBC Radio 3 blockbuster series Baroque Spring, which was presented throughout the month of March.  This was such a dynamic and comprehensive overview of a period of music which has underpinned and nurtured so much which followed that I felt it was deserving of an entire tutti talk to itself.

When I say Baroque music has fed into the repertoire that followed it, there are great examples in 20th and 21st century music of how inspiring the baroque composers have been.

To take just a few random examples –

in jazz, the Jacques Loussier Trio and the Swingle Singers; in popular music, Procul Harum’s Whiter Shade of Pale and more recently, a marvellous arrangement of Let it Be, written for Lesley Garrett and recorded on her CD The Singer.

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Kapustin Piano Music for PlayStation

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Quite a few years ago we fell in love with the music of Nikolai Kapustin. His compositions for piano are astonishing. The pieces tap into a whole range of musical languages – jazz, blues, ragtime, boogie-woogie and they are vibrant and so full of energy and excitement, even in the most disarmingly tuneful passages.

This is now being picked up by musicians all over world and there are some really terrific performances. The Toccatina from one of the Etudes has even just been released as the sound track for the latest PlayStation Gran Turismo 5. Now I know absolutely nothing about PlayStation but listen to the track http://www.tutti.co.uk/featured-sheet-music/music-from-gran-turismo-5 and you can hear how fantastic the music is. To play the music you need at least 12 fingers(!) and there are some great performances out there. Look out for Kapustin, it is really terrific music.

Geraldine Allen

passionate about singing

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What is it about the human voice that captivates in both composition and performance? Yes, I know, I am trying to deflect your inevitable comment that I was supposed to have written about the Summer Sing two Wednesdays ago, that’s two whole Wdnesdays or 8 days – a lifetime to the dedicated blogger. My defence as always is that life got in the way, and really there can be no better impediment to writing about life than life itself. Hmm, this is clearly going to be one of those philosophical ones! OK, you ask (or maybe you don’t!) which bits of life? Diary says (that’s an oblique reference to Little Britain for the uninitiated) Norfolk – and it would be right! Norfolk is a hideaway which belongs to my brother Nick who is an equestrian (not a note of music in his entire being, bless ‘im) and deeply involved with the 2008 para-olympics in Hong Kong. Norfolk is so utterly different from what our lives constitute most of the time that it is always a glorious and most welcome entr’acte. We live simply, eat simply, drink simply too much, walk miles, visit some of the most extraordinary churches these Isles have to offer and even bird watch. Well here’s a thing. While walking from Hardley to Chedgrave and back, a distance of a little more than 8 miles (that’s nearly 13 kilometres to our continental neighbours) and visiting St Margaret’s Hardley which is little changed from its Norman beginnings and All Saints Chedgrave which provided a welcome cuppa, we dropped off at the bird hide by Hardley Flood. What do you think we found there? You would never guess so don’t even try . . . A memorial plaque to Olivier Messiaen. The inside of the hide has a row of little brass plaques which commemorate all sorts and conditions of men and women who liked the locale, were ardent bird-watchers, had made an impression on the dedicator’s life or were simply nice people and in amongst them all was one Olivier M. to whom bird song had meant so much as a composer. I took a photograph and felt warmed! I know this started out as a eulogy to the human voice . . . it has got lost somewhere along the way and turned out to be not so philosophical after all. Bird song, human voice, creative inspiration, memories – there are bound to be 101 connections. Much to my surpise, we have not a drop of Messiaen on tutti, neither sheet music nor recordings, BUT we do have a rather good work for meultiple double basses, called, Bird, Lake, Stone, River by composer Michael Hynes . . . “atmospheric stillness and calm. An ethereal soundworld . . .” saith the blurb.

Sarah Rodgers

musical species

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When I wrote about visiting Cornwall I didn’t get onto our trip to the Eden project. For those to whom this name is new, the eden project is an enterprising initiative to turn an old Cornish china clay pit into an ecological education programme. Thousands of plant speias have been cultivated on an arena of hillsides and under protection of massive bubble-shaped greenhouses called Biomes. Within the Biomes which span desert habitats through to rain forest, plant life is exhibited and all of its connection to the planet and humankind’s sustainability is demonstrated. Fruits, cottons and hemps, fossil fuels, herbs – everything is there from ferns and horsetails to modernday cross fertilized (but no GM) species. Thinking back on the visit, it put me very much in mind of the whole gamut (pun intended) of musical species (and for the purists I am not talking here merely about counterpoint!) Composers are a product of the past – and what a fantastically fertile past the history of music has seen! We cannot help but be connected, to have grown out of what has preceded us. No two people take the same elements from their nurture, so the resulting diversity is wondrous, providing music lovers with a cornucopia of new musical offerings year on year. There is so much about which to be passionate when it comes to music and at tutti we try to reflect the widest of interests. Here is something of our (bio)-diversity: tubalate (two tubas plus two euphoniums), music for 12 doublebasses wizard stuff from Finnish composer Teppo Hauta-Aho, music from accordionist-composer, Sue Coppard .

Have a passionate day.

Sarah Rodgers

all saints day

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It is truly a sign of the times that the world is aware of hallowe’en but is entirely oblivious to its significance as the evening before the day of all hallows or all saints. G and I have just taken a four day break in Cornwall (southwestern-most point of England for non-nationals! – and hence the blog-drought.) If I’m talking about saints then Cornwall has them wall to wall or should that be drystone wall to drystone wall. It is a breath-takingly beautiful county with a tangible mystery and audible quiet – visit and you’ll understand! Staying near Padstow we took in one of the Rick Stein restaurants – well the fish and chip shop actually, but it was magnificent food and really if this weren’t a passionate about music blog it would be a passionate about food blog! Padstow is on the coast and the air is so fresh. We took several long coastal walks and one which involved the Saints Way – an ancient footpath which meanders across the county. Clocks went back while we were away so evenings were longer and darker and the perfect opportunity to listen to some of the new recordings recently added to the tutti catalogue. Here are three we particularly enjoyed: piano cubano a wonderful collection of tracks of original music by pianist-composer, Marietta Veulens; tangos by piazzolla more south american music, this time for cello and piano; scandinavian choral music slightly less exotic but traversing a scale from haunting to exuberant. More musical passions soon.

Sarah Rodgers

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