Monday, 24 June 2013


This month's caption competition

I have been a bit cheeky about the UNESCO City of Music project in the recent past: it gets a pass because Sven Brown is involved, and he doesn't have to prove himself after his curation of the Minimal festivals (over the past two years, they've taken me from wishing I could see the great names of contemporary classical to being blase about them doing a gig in the City Halls).

The last UNESCO project, despite being conceptually brilliant (a live feed to the Finnieston Crane) was ruined because no-one thought to check whether there would be a massive demolition across the road from GOMA, effectively drowning the symphony of creaks and cracks. However, I received a press release in my inbox today that ought to be seen as a direct challenge to programmers who want to be down with the new music.

Cut'n'paste begins here.

Sound Four is excited to announce the first ever London Contemporary Music Festival (LCMF 2013)Adventurous and all-embracing, LCMF 2013 will take place in partnership with the capital’s most talked about new arts venue, Bold Tendencies, situated on the top four floors of Peckham multi-storey car park, and will be the only music festival in Britain dedicated to commissioning and staging the best new music the world has to offer regardless of genre – and all for FREE

Free? In a car park? A good start: and the line-up includes plenty of work that Arika would have presented back in the day, before they started throwing shapes in the ballroom. 

  • UK PREMIERE and the FIRST VISIT by Glenn Branca and the Glenn Branca Ensemble to the UK for nearly a decade
  • LIVE SETS from SND, Raime, Russell Haswell, Jem Finer, Steve Noble and Anthony Pateras
  • Charlemagne Palestine performing his SEMINAL work for solo piano Strumming Music
  • A performance of the near-complete solo piano works by Germany’s greatest living composer, HELMUT LACHENMANN, alongside an unlikely companion, Lachenmann’s favourite composer and Hollywood favourite, ENNIO MORRICONE
  • 8 HOURS OF CONTINUOUS PERFOMANCES charting the evolution of drone music from its minimalist beginnings to its sound art and dance music present
  • A rare outing for Philip Corner’s INFAMOUS Piano Activities, in which the pianist will destroy a grand piano

  • The suggestion that the festival has been started 'in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the riot at the Rite,' doesn't convince me - I can't see anything that is especially inspired by The Rite of Spring, even the electronic recomposition of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. That said. here's some more action.

    • the RETURN of Kate Whitley and Chris Stark’s The Orchestra Project, whose car park performance of The Rite of Spring two years ago was described as “the most exciting development in classical music in decades, if not centuries” (The Times)
    • acclaimed soprano Allison Bell takes the central role in the WORLD PREMIERE staging of Gerald Barry’s opera La Plus Forte
    • performances by Allison Bell, SND, Steve Noble, Ed Atkins, Jennifer Walshe, Glenn Branca, Raime, Russell Haswell, Tony Conrad, Jem Finer, Mark Knoop, Lore Lixenberg, Aisha Orazbayeva, Lucy Railton, Max Baillie, David Massey, Roderick Chadwick, Anthony Pateras, Leon Michener and Jane Chapman
    • a mixture of classic and rare work by Helmut Lachenmann, Bernard Parmegiani, Ennio Morricone, Michael Finnissy, Philip Corner, Brian Ferneyhough, Laurie Anderson, Eliane Radigue, Philip Glass, Gyorgy Kurtag, Brian Eno, Jennifer Walshe, Aaron Cassidy, Frederic Rzewski, Kurt Schwitters, Steve Reich, Iannis Xenakis, Alvin Lucier, Terry Riley, Gyorgy Ligeti, Louis Andriessen and La Monte Young.
    • several new or recently created works by young composers, artists, choreographers and theatre-makers from Britain and abroad, including Kate Whitley, Ed Atkins, Alexander Zeldin, Lauren Redhead, Aisha Orazbayeva, Sam Underwood, Ambrose Seddon and Melanie Lomoff
    Over 50 works - over half of them premieres or pieces created since 2000 - by over 40 different composers and artists.

    The gauntlet has been thrown down. Can UNESCO rise to the challenge? Does Glasgow have a car park that can serve as a venue? How badly will eight hours of drone impact on the consciousness of the listeners? Game on. 

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