Saturday, October 06, 2007

New music - the same difference


I asked Roger Wright, head of Radio 3, a few years ago why the BBC didn't broadcast more new music. We get too many complaining letters was his reply - composer Geoffrey Burgon writing in today's Guardian.

If my work is accepted, I must move on to the point where it isn't - John Cage

We are off in a few minutes to Aldeburgh for the first performance of Giorgio Battistelli's (above) Skyscape, which was commissioned by Aldeburgh Music, who, thankfully, aren't worried about complaining letters. Martyn Brabbins conducts the Britten-Pears Orchestra in a thoughtful programme which juxtaposes the new work with Strauss' Four Last Songs and Walton's ebullient First Symphony.

For the drive to Snape I'll slip Geoffrey Burgon's 1976 Requiem into the CD player. Although his film and TV scores are well known, Burgon's concert music isn't heard often enough to generate letters of complaint these days. His choral Requiem is a genuinely forward looking work, wonderful scoring, and beautiful Kingsway Hall sound. Annoyed of Tunbridge Wells clearly won the day though, as this important Decca CD is now deleted. But hurry, you can still find it online.

Do read Geoffrey Burgon's letter, there is an alternative to new music in safe doses.
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