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Blog Category: eclectic music

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!

David Bowie – BBC Proms 2016………..totally amazing, emotionally and a worthy tribute to the greatest “STAR” Thank you to the BBC

Caught up with proms tribute to David Bowie. Wished I had not bothered. The great man must be turning in his grave.

BBC Proms completely destroyed David Bowie’s Space Oddity. Controversial but true. Just sing the song.BBC Proms completely destroyed David Bowie’s Space Oddity. Controversial but true. Just sing the song.

BBC proms David Bowie @MarcAlmond excellent job with Life on Mars. Pathos and beauty.

Watched majority of David Bowie celebration at the BBC Proms. I saw ‘majority’ because I couldn’t watch Marc Almond murder ‘Life on Mars’.

The David Bowie Proms were great but the bloke who sang Life on Mars butchered it and infuriated me.

Thought it’d be better than this, then again you can’t replicate a genius like Bowie!

Watching the proms tribute to David Bowie. Great arrangements for classic songs.

The Bowie Prom was superb, radical and moving at the same time. And I think I’ve fallen in love with the flautist!

Bowie and Boulez

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Impulse_blog_bowie_boulez

BOWIE
“Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” Iman Bowie.

On Bowie’s birthday, Jan. 8, Iman used Instagram to celebrate her husband’s special day. She shared a variety of different photos of Bowie, many of which were posted by his fans.

Bowie images flash around the world with all the personas that made it possible for everyone to find their own affinity with the man and his music.

Did anyone ever reinvent himself as often and as successfully as David Bowie?

From Space Oddity to Ziggy Stardust, from Fame to Blackstar and all wrapped up in Lazarus – what a panoply of creativity.

BOULEZ
“Schoenberg is dead; Blow up the opera houses; Authenticity is a nightmare; Henze? ‘rubbish’. Verdi? ‘dum de dum, nothing more'”. So said Pierre Boulez.

From Sur incises to Répons, from Le Visage Nuptial to Pli selon pli, from Le Marteau Sans Maître to Eclat, – inventor, self-critic, visionary, champion of the avant-garde.

Concert hall, music theatre, electronics studio, BBC symphony orchestra, IRCAM – there was nowhere in the musical world his influence did not reach, known or unknown.

Currently the subject of a special exhibition in Paris at the Philharmonie de Paris, Boulez was also featured in the Aldeburgh Festival 2015.

In a bizarre twist of fate, which no doubt will go down in the history books, Philharmonie de Paris is also about to host the exhibition about Bowie – David Bowie Is.

An unusual pairing? Not at all. Two international figures, passionate communicators and music enrichers.

Sarah Rodgers

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.

It’s a little surprising that nothing was nominated from that other great London operatic institution, Covent Garden, particularly George Benjamin’s highly acclaimed new work, Written on Skin.  The Royal Opera House is devoting ever more resources to contemporary work and that may be down to the outlook of the current Director of Opera, Kasper Holten, who is reported as saying, “New work is not and should not be at the periphery of our programme, but right at the core of what and who we are.”  Bravo!

Casting back even earlier, at the beginning of this year ROH announced an impressive set of plans for 2013 to 2020 amounting to 15 new works in both the main house and the more experimental Linbury Studio.  Forth-coming productions will include in the near future, work by Australian, Ben Frost, and by British composers Julian Philips, Luke Bedford and Matthew Herbert.  Looking further ahead, there are new commissions for Mark-Anthony Turnage and Judith Weir (follow the link on Judith’s name for a tantalising taster of the ENO production of Judith’s Blond Eckbert). There is lots more on offer for composers from Denmark, Finland, Italy and Germany, too.

Not to be out-done, ENO also raised the curtain on its latest commission which was styled as an “enthralling multimedia ‘occult mystery’, combining live performance, music, 2D and 3D film.”  A collaboration with the Barbican, all performances of Sunken Garden by composer, director and film-maker Michel van der Aa take place there and it opened on the 12th April.

Opera has always been wonderfully eclectic, gloriously international and fiercely innovative.  Here’s hoping that we can add ‘boundlessly contemporary’ to the accolades.  A living composer did win that Olivier Award so that is a step in the right direction.

If you type ‘opera’ into the tutti searchbox, I hope you will be intrigued at what turns up – never the predictable!

Aah, I’ve just caught the final moments of a fiery Norfolk sunset from my studio window – you can see more of the moments I’ve managed to capture posted on the Music at tutti timeline on facebook.

Sarah Rodgers

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.

Then there are some of the direct tributes such as Percy Grainger’s Handel in the Strand or Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (on a theme by Purcell), here played by the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.

For the more quirky – have a look at this mobile/cellphone video – a very enterprising way to spend their advertising budget!

If you type the word baroque into the tutti searchbox, I guarantee you will be surprised at what pops up!

It’s a lovely summer’s day here in Norfolk and I’m looking out into clear skies – England are dominating the battle for the Ashes and the weekend beckons – close to perfect!!

Sarah Rodgers

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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