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Blog Category: inspiring music

Bowie and Boulez

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Categories: contemporary classical music, eclectic music, inspiring music
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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

Dove takes flight at Easter

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Categories: british composers, contemporary classical music, inspiring music
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I was fascinated by a listing in The Times in the run up to Easter, itemising the musical settings due to be performed at Cathedrals, Royal Chapels, Choral Foundations and London Churches on Easter Day. The compiler, Deborah King, named 88 institutions across the UK, and provided service times and the music to be sung for each.

There was no commentary from the author, which made it all the more fascinating a listing for the conclusions the readers could draw for themselves. With liturgical repertoire, it is wonderfully beneficial to composers that the tradition is to name the setting after the composer, as in Schubert in G or Stanford in A. To her credit, Deborah King was meticulous in naming each and every composer regardless of whether their name appeared in the title in this traditional manner. For example Wood, Collegium Regale or Mozart, Coronation Mass, were also fully listed.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. What repertoire are these venerable, historic and often renowned establishments serving up to their congregations? Of course there is a very good spread of the aforementioned ‘Composers in Key’, and notably Stanford (15 services), but also, Dyson, Darke, Bairstow and Brewer. The French organist composers also get a good look in with Langlais, Widor, Durufle and Vierne.

Returning to the British Isles, the more recent repertoire was led by Howells and followed by Mathias. William Walton, and Vaughan Williams also make appearances, but the name that really caught my eye, was Dove – Jonathan Dove. His Missa Brevis featured in no fewer than 5 locations, out-pacing Missa Brevis by Britten and followed at some distance by his younger contemporary Gabriel Jackson whose Missa Triueriensis was down to be performed (unsurprisingly) at Truro Cathedral who had commissioned it in 2005.

Jonathan Dove is not the first British composer to take flight on the wings of liturgy and bless Deborah King for putting an Easter spotlight on him and 34 other composers.

Final statistics – 35

yes, but what sort of music?

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Fair enough question. I can’t speak for the rest of the team, so this is more about me. True to say I am passionate about all sorts of music, if it is original, exciting, challenging, arresting, uplifting. I want it to grab my attention, stop my train of thought, change my mood, stimulate my own creative work. Although the main focus for all of this for me is in the contemporary classical music world, I recently went to an inspiring performance of a neglected mid-nineteenth century work. It wasn’t something I’d want to hear every day, but this performance had been prepared with such dedication and was performed with such relish and energy that it was truly breath-taking. It was the opera La Juive by Fromental Halevy, written around 1865. At tutti we like to identify and give a showcase to music which we think will be inspiring. As it happens, we don’t have a recording of La Juive but we have a lot of other premier recordings of previously unknown works. Here’s the link for just one of them: Handel’s opera, Silla. OK, I’m off to see the in-laws now, so no more posting until Sunday. Except maybe another member of teamtutti will have introduced themselves before then. Where are you guys?

Sarah Rodgers

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