… in Beckett and Feldman’s piece the text and music seem symbiotically linked, even though they were composed 26 years apart … it was totally involving.
The Guardian on BCMG’s performance of Words and Music at the 2013 Cheltenham Music Festival
Howard Skempton’s Only the Sound Remains for viola and ensemble takes its title from the first line of The Mill-Water, a poem on the sad loss of rural industry by Edward Thomas. The sense of nostalgia and elegy that pervades Thomas’ poem is beautifully encapsulated in Skempton’s 35-minute piece. Led by the viola, the ensemble seems to paint a series of long-forgotten landscapes, affirming Skempton’s precious ability to find beauty and expressive power in the simplest musical objects.
BCMG/SaM Apprentice Composer-in-Residence Shiori Usui has been described as a composer with ‘individual ears’ (The Times) and her music has already been performed in Japan, Europe and the US by a diverse range of soloists, ensembles and orchestras. Her new piece takes inspiration from the BBC’s Blue Planet series (originally titled ‘Deep’) and promises to transport both players and audience to the bottom of the ocean.
Skempton’s friendship with Morton Feldman was perhaps his most important single influence. Samuel Beckett/Morton Feldman’s Words and Music deliberates on the comparative power of these two modes of expression. Here presented in a strikingly unusual way, this 40-minute piece, initially written for radio, sees Joe (Words) and Bob (Music), struggle to formulate expressions on themes including love and age under the command of the mysterious Croak. At the heart of the piece is an intensely moving section in which Bob tries to teach Joe how to sing.
Howard Skempton: Only the Sound Remains * (Maurice Millward commission for BCMG 2010)
Shiori Usui: Deep (BCMG/SaM Apprentice Composer-in-Residence)
Samuel Beckett/Morton Feldman: Words and Music ~
Join BCMG Artistic Director Stephen Newbould during the second interval of the evening as he discusses tonight’s programme with composers Howard Skempton, Shiori Usui and David Sawer.
Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
Viola: Christopher Yates *
Director: David Sawer ~
Actors: William Oxborrow
& Thomas Howes ~
Sound by Design ~
…on Sunday we heard a repeat performance (something of a rarity in itself for contemporary works) of a recent BCMG goodie, Only the Sound Remains for viola and chamber ensemble … a valuable addition to such a limited repertoire.
Information No.0121 616 2616
CBSO Centre is equipped with adapted toilet facilities, key signposting in Braille and the hall is fitted with an infra-red amplification system (receivers are available on request). Limited free parking can be arranged on request.
Access to CBSO Centre’s concert hall, bar and toilets is all flat, with no steps or ramps. The hall configuration is flexible, meaning we can accommodate specific seating requests.
Guide dogs are very welcome at BCMG concerts. You can either keep them with you in the auditorium during the concert or event, or we will be happy to look after your dog for you in the foyer while you enjoy the performance.