Monday, January 07, 2008

Early and late music reaches new audiences


Adventurous programming of early and late music has reached new audiences via my Future Radio programme. My Inner Cities webcast, which was late both in terms of the work's year of composition and my bedtime, was just one example. From earlier times my David Munrow (photo above) feature was repeated by popular demand over Christmas, and it has just been made available as an iTunes podcast, as has my interview with pianist Daan Vandewalle, who played Alvin Curran's Inner Cities. And every week I am getting more emails at the station responding favourably to the programmes' eclectic mix of music.

My sample size may be small, but it is no smaller than the focus groups used extensively by the BBC and by US presidential contenders. If I were predicting the future I would say that early music will be the 'big thing' in 2008, and that there is also a real opportunity for live concerts combining early and contemporary works. Pierre Boulez did it in his Domaine Musical concerts in France in the 1950s (e.g. Bach or Gabrieli combined with new works), while in 2000 a concert in Berlin combined Mahler and Ockeghem and sold out. Whatever the sample size the Overgrown Path webcasts are punching well above their weight, and the last thirty hours of broadcast music have not included a single note of Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler or Shostakovich.

I've already written here how David Munrow virtually single-handedly made early music the 'big thing' in the 1970s. All that is needed to make it happen again is the right animateur. If early music is the surprise of 2008 perhaps EMI's new owners will make their acquired assets work for them by releasing a box of the complete David Munrow recordings with decent documentation instead of sub-licensing them for peanuts to other companies while also giving them away piecemeal on their own budget label? That way the new owners wouldn't need to 'revalue' my pension.

Over the next few weeks I have some very interesting programmes on Future Radio which combine early and contemporary music. I will publish full details before each broadcast, but here is an outline of the schedule. Judging by recent events you may also see some of these composers making last minute appearances in the BBC Radio 3 schedules. My programmes are broadcast on Sunday at 5.00pm, convert to other time zones here.

* Jan 13 - Elisabeth Lutyens' music with guest James Weeks. Rising star conductor and composer James Weeks discusses his highly acclaimed CD of Lutyens' choral music with me, and plays some of her music from it. Available after broadcast as An Overgrown Path podcast.

* Jan 20 - The Italian Job. Giosefffo Zarlino Motets (new recording from Ensemble Plus Ultra and Michael Noone), and Luigi Dallapiccola's Canti di prigionia.

* Jan 27 - Celebrating Messiaen. Excerpts from Messian's Vingt Regards sur l’enfant Jésus and Bach Toccatas played on the piano by Angela Hewitt.

* Feb 3 - Pilgrimage to Santiago. Music from the medieval Codex Las Huelgas and two complete sections from Joby Talbot's acclaimed 2005 choral work Path of Miracles.

* Feb 10 - A study in contrasts - Cage and Frescobaldi. Girolamo Frescobaldi's Canzoni framing John Cage's Concerto for Prepared Piano and Chamber Orchestra

More on Joby Talbot's contemporary choral work Path of Miracles here, and read what a critic thought of Luigi Dallapiccola's music here.
David Munrow photo from Testament's condensed CD re-release of his The Art of the Recorder and Instruments of the Middle Ages. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

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