Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Contemporary composers' Notre Dame habit
'The Orlandos hadn't met the Tuvans when I spoke to them, but were confident they'd find common ground, since this is the strategy they employ as a way of drawing in audiences to the forbidding medieval music they specialise in. Forbidding is my word, not theirs: as tenor Angus Smith points out, composers such as Steve Reich, Harrison Birtwistle and Peter Maxwell-Davies are now ploughing the same melodic furrow of the monks of Notre-Dame, 800 years ago. "We don't like to programme early music in isolation – we like to find ways of giving it a resonance today," says Smith. "And the music of medieval Notre-Dame is, in many ways, similar to the music being written today"' - from Michael Church's Independent preview of the East Neuk Festival in Scotland.
The festival includes a premiere by Tarik O'Regan whose Scattered Rhymes, inspired by Machaut's Messe de Notre Dame, featured in my recent 'Mixing it' post and the CD of which provides my header graphic. And mixing it certainly does draw audiences, a very healthy number of the East Neuk Festival concerts are sold out.
More from the Notre Dame composers here.
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