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 .
Four years ago, I was instrumental in setting up the British Composer Awards – an annual event which celebrates and rewards the music of composers living and working in the UK. Last night I was a guest on BBC Radio 3 to talk about this year’s nominations which are wonderfully eclectic. Major establishment composers such as John Tavener are on the list alongside people who up to this point have never raised a blip on the composing radar. This year too there is a fascinating left-field nomination for Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead fame. There is a mindset (which the Awards are beginning to unstick) that classical composition is a very narrow, insular and elitist field. As they say in popular language – this is SO not true! Open your ears and eyes! Classical music no longer has stereo-types, it is no longer possible to pigeon-hole it, some would say it is no longer possible even to define it and, yes, that has definite value: classical music is as diverse as the composers who write it – it is defined by their voices. Take these three entirely different composers (unashamedly one is me!!) Sarah Rodgers – lyrical contrapuntalist (ooh, aah yeah but no but!) Graham Fitkin – dramatic minimalist (his music has passion) Timothy Salter – visceral expressionist (hang on to your gut!).
You can hear a short extract of all our music by clinking on the links. Do you like what you hear? Let us know – someone out there, make a comment, please.
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.