Friday 31 October 2008

In darkness and light

Another interesting reaction to our Night Music project, this time from Richard Fairman in the FT. The debate about how we presented the event continues to rage. OK, we had a lighting designer and tried to make the stage picture reflect the mood and tone of the music; we had stage consultants and had thought about the way the concert should flow; the musicians had rehearsed the links between pieces so there was no chance of them banging into their music stands. And yes, having the house-lights down meant that the audience could not see their programmes: but is that any different to going to see a play or an opera? All your attention can be directed to the music, and when the diction is as clear as Mark Padmore's you don't need to follow the texts. We always put our programme notes and any texts on our website a week before our own promotions, so there is plenty of time to read up in advance. Anyway, we wanted to provoke a debate, but we obviously don't want to alienate our audiences. Let us know your views!

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Darkest materials

'Joviality has its place in music but its most life-enhancing consolations often derive from the darkest materials.' A great summary of our Night Music programme from Fiona Maddocks in today's Evening Standard: read her full review. There is a final chance to hear this programme in Southampton tonight

Saturday 25 October 2008

Thursday 23 October 2008

Night Music SinfoniaCast

Fiona Talkington introduces our latest SinfoniaCast in which Mark Padmore and Kate Kennedy consider the importance of text in our Night Music project. The first concert is in Cambridge tonight at 8.00pm: Kate and Mark will discuss the ideas in the podcast in greater depth before the concert at 7.00pm.

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Ulysses Awakes

John Woolrich's note on his piece 'Ulysses Awakes' belies what, to me, is one of his finest works: 'There are two great arias at the beginning of Monteverdi’s opera II ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria: one for Penelope, and this one for Ulysses, waking on the shore of his homeland. In this retelling the viola sings Ulysses.'

We are joined by Maxim Rysanov as soloist in our Night Music project.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Night Music

Mark Padmore joins Britten Sinfonia for a programme exploring the theme of night, with music by Birtwistle, Stravinsky, Britten, Woolrich and Handel. Full details are here. The concerts are in Cambridge on Thursday, Norwich on Friday, London next Monday, and Southampton next Tuesday. The literary delights equal the musical ones, with texts by Milton, Shelley, Tennyson, Coleridge, Middleton, Wordsworth, Owen, Keats and Shakespeare. Watch out for Mark's own analysis of the programme in next Saturday's Guardian Review.

Monday 20 October 2008

Family Music Days on two continents

Our new season is getting going, and what a brilliant (if exhausting) start: two Family Music Days on consecutive days. The children in Cambridge get the special opportunity of taking part in gamelan workshops. Having just come back from Korea, where I witnessed a similar event in Jeonju, I can't resist some photos from each continent. The fascination with percussion instruments is universal, and I suspect UK children would love the chance to learn dragon dances as well. More news later this week on our Night Music project with Mark Padmore, and do check our newly revamped website.