With a new website I’m going to start a new blog though with this one, instead of me talking about just my music, I’m going to tie it into my new thing on SubCity Radio co-hosting the Vile Arts Radio Hour every few weeks. Today was my first time co-hosting the first hour of the show, which you can hear here, I have been on before as just me and as part of Said Ensemble but it seems I have moved in and become a bit of the furniture.
I don’t really know what form this blog will take yet apart from it will have a regular link to the Vile Arts show. I think I’ll probably use it to clarify, expand, correct and possibly defend any remarks I make on the show but also as a place to list the events I mention on the show. If there is anything coming up that I don’t mention but that you think I should know about please get in touch so I can plug it for you either here or on the show when I’m next on.
The first piece I played was Oliver Messiaen’s L’Ascension – I. Majesté du Christ demandant sa glaorie à son Père played by Oliver Latry from Messiaen – Complete Organ works. Messiaen is someone who has always been on my listening list but unfortunately I haven’t heard much of it live (play more Messiaen everyone!), his music basically got be into contemporary music. I remember my composition teacher explaining the Fibonacci sequences built into Messiaen’s music, especially the Quartet for the End of Time but also in his Vingt regard sur l’enfant Jésus which I discovered through doing an analysis but that’s for a different post. Anyway the reason I played this piece is because the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland chamber choir are doing a concert tonight in Glasgow University Chapel with L’Ascension being played through the concert. They are also doing Judith Weir’s Ascending into Heaven, Orlando Gibbons O Clap Your Hands Together, Bach’s Lobet den Herrn and Gerald Finzi’s God is Gone up with a Triumphant Shout.
The book I mentioned about Messiaen was Oliver Messiaen: Journalism 1935-1939 by Dr. Stephen Broad. A while ago I went to a talk that Stephen was given linked to this book called ‘Portraits of the Young Man as an Artist’ the basic gist of the talk was that all artists be they musicians, painters or whatever try to present themselves in a certain light. In the case of a musician it comes down to, if memory serves me right. chance discovery, self taught and natural. With regard to Messiaen this is a chance discovery of a score in his drawer (which happened to be a pretty standard score for theory study), which helped him learn to read music (learn music with no instruction?!?!), which all came naturally. As you can see these are pretty vague and in the talk Stephen refuted these through referencing other sources but also showed how these same things were used by other musicians. This list wasn’t thought up by him but by someone else doing research, who I have unfortunately forgotten the name of. Within the talk Stephen showed various bits of evidence showing that Messiaen either ignored the facts or corrected them to best suit his story. The point wasn’t to put a stain on his character but simply to use him as a research point for other artists.
The next pieces I played were The Illusionist and Naqoyqatsi linked into the BBC SSO and Kronos Quartet playing his music next weekend as part of the Minimal Festival. About the Philip Glass talk I was on about you can get free tickets for it here. Its free you just need to register so they can keep an eye on how many people are going. Its at on Thursday 24th at 6pm and will finish in time for the BBC concert of his 6th Symphony. I’ve got a ticket for the talk and am playing to get one for the Symphony. Philip Glass is an odd one for me, I can’t take as much of his music as I can Reich but I do like it in small doses. I think for me Reich is more meditative where as Glass is more active. Maybe. I’m not sure….
Already in this blog I’m coming up with topics for other blogs which is good but could be a rather exponential exercise but I’ll see. Anyway I think thats enough about me rambling for now. Below is the list of events and information I have managed to gain on them coming up in the next month or so in Glasgow.
Scottish Ensemble, 25th May, 1pm, RCS, £9.50,£6.50 a new commission by Alasdair Spratt