Thomas Simaku – World Premiere: ‘The Scream’ for String Orchestra, Cambridge, 17 November 2017
Based on Edvard Munch’s iconic painting, Thomas Simaku’s new work will receive its world premiere in Cambridge on 17 November 2017 as part of the Concerts at King’s series.
The BBC Concert Orchestra is conducted by King’s College Director of Music Stephen Cleobury. http://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/events/concerts-at-kings/index.html
Of this substantial piece lasting 20 minutes, Thomas Simaku writes:
‘The iconic painting by Edvard Munch was the main impulse for writing this piece – hence the title. Its “silent scream” whose echo spans (and can be heard) well beyond the painting’s time and frame, struck a chord with me for its resonance with our modern times.
In no way programmatic, the music focuses on the concentrated form of expression that emanates from the space, the colours, and the gritty intensity of the “deafening silence” in Munch’s painting. Stemming from a single line – hence, the vocal quality imbedded in the overall melodic expression of the strings is at the centre here – there are a variety of “screamingly-based” sonorities, “vocal” or otherwise, throughout the piece. They cover a wide spectrum of dynamics, and range from very soft and delicate to furiously loud and tumultuous textures, as if reaching our modern times from the remoteness of time itself. These linear manifestations occupy the whole registral gamut of the strings in a symphony orchestra, and are presented in a variety of formats ranging from static (sometimes tenaciously motionless) horizontal lines, through various heterophonic bundles progressively moving at their own pace, to different ‘diagonal’ sliding lines (microtonally inflected or otherwise) that overlap with, and echo, one another.’
James Cave has been announced as the winner of the ‘Same Notes – Ten Times Sweeter’ Competition
This competition was for a piece for unaccompanied descant or treble recorder, three to four minutes long.
James Cave’s setting of ‘Ave Maria’, commissioned by the Dean and Chapter of York Minster for the Nine Lessons and Carols 2016, has been selected for inclusion on a new CD of pieces written for York Minster, to be released on Regent Records later this year.
For the second year running, Martin Suckling features in the Scottish Awards for New Music. His flute concerto, The White Road, premiered last February by Katherine Bryan and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, is shortlisted in the ‘Large Scale Work (11+ performers) sponsored by PRS for Music’ category. Over 180 nominations were submitted by artists, audience members and the general public, reinforcing the depth and breadth of new music activity in Scotland. The awards event will be held at the Drygate Brewery, Glasgow on Wednesday 7 March 2017.
PhD student Patrick John Jones has been selected for PRS for Music’s new scheme for composers, Accelerate.
On Friday 12th January, Martin Suckling’s new string quintet, Emily’s Electrical Absence, a collaboration with poet Frances Leviston and scientists from the PETMEM consortium, receives its premiere in London as part of the ‘Time Unwrapped’ series at King’s Place. The following day in New York City, Lost Dog New Music Ensemble give the second US performance of Martin’s clarinet trio Visiones (after Goya) as part of their mini-festival of British music, ‘The UK Commotion’.
The Journal of Music, Technology and Education recently published a special edition on the Online Orchestra, an Arts & Humanities Research Council-funded project that run between October 2014 to March 2016.