Weekly Roundup

The Quatuor Danel were back in Manchester last week with two com­posers, Henry Fourès and Catherine Seba, in tow. Their two con­certs in­cluded Bruno Mantovani’s piano quintet, Blue girl with red wagon (with Richard Whalley on piano), Seba’s string quartet with tape, Quivering, Fourès playing Luc Ferrari’s À la recherche du rhythme perdu, for solo piano and tape, Schubert Quartet in G minor, D.173, Dvořák Piano Quintet in A, Op.81, (with David Fanning on piano) and the world premiere of Fourès’s quartet Méditations sur le scor­pion. Fourès also gave a talk on Thursday af­ter­noon, cas­u­ally me­an­dering through some of the pro­jects he has worked on, em­phas­ising his ec­lecticism. He has led various lives as com­poser, mu­si­co­lo­gist and civil ser­vant, has most re­cently been dir­ector of the con­ser­vatoire in Lyon and came across as an en­ga­ging, pos­itive and humble man. His music seems to ex­hibit crafts­man­ship and sub­tlety, while per­haps not finding a unique voice, and he is clearly ver­satile, having worked on everything from music for a rap-based street dance troupe in the 1990s to music for solo timbral tambourine.

It took a while to sink in, but Dogtooth (Κυνόδοντας), a Greek film that won the Prix Un Certain Regard at Cannes last year, is worth seeing if you can catch it at a cinema near you. It’s brutal and dif­fi­cult, but also funny and pain­fully ab­surd. A Greek friend as­serts that it casts a meta­phor­ical light on Greek so­ciety, but whether you buy that or not the psy­cho­lo­gical pres­sure, which the still­ness and ten­sion of this film build up, of­fers a valu­able ex­per­i­ence in its own right.

Rehearsals are in full flow for this Friday’s per­form­ance by Raise Your Voice. There’s plenty of off-kilter rhythmic drive in the pro­gramme and the mu­si­cians have been working through the rhythms and metric mod­u­la­tions as­sidu­ously. Mostly I get to watch and listen, but I am per­forming a couple of works with elec­tronics, Martin Suckling’s Passacaglie for cello and my own The Golden Lion Hotel for per­cus­sion. I’ve also been re­hearsing with players for Sunday’s per­form­ance of my mini cello con­certo Mikrokonzert: I Swear I Saw the Sun Falling at the York Spring Festival of New Music, which prom­ises to be quite a day (if I sur­vive the Great Manchester run in the morning).

This entry was written by Chris, posted on Monday, 10 May 2010 at 1:11 pm, filed under Musings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Microbiography

    Chris Swithinbank is a British-Dutch com­poser who works with both acoustic in­stru­ments and elec­tronic sounds. He is cur­rently a stu­dent at Harvard University with Chaya Czernowin.
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